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NATO To Discuss Expansion Of Afghan Mission

(RFE/RL) 8 December 2005 -- Foreign ministers of the 26 NATO member countries are expected today to endorse plans to expand the alliance's peacekeeping role in Afghanistan.

The ministers are expected to back plans to expand the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force next year by some 6,000 soldiers -- from the current 10,000 to around 16,000. NATO is planning to expand its peacekeeping role into Afghanistan's south.

A NATO spokesman said yesterday that the alliance had agreed on rules for handling prisoners detained by NATO-led peacekeepers in Afghanistan. The rules include NATO automatically notifying the Red Cross or Red Crescent each time an individual is detained.

At the meeting in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also expected to face further questions about U.S. treatment of detainees in the war on terror. Rice said yesterday during a visit to Ukraine that all U.S. personnel are bound by international obligations prohibiting cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees.

(news agencies)