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NATO Warns Afghan Success 'Not Yet Assured'

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
NATO leaders declared today that operations across Afghanistan were making "measured progress in extending the reach of the Afghan government, changing the political conditions, and marginalizing the insurgency."

But in a statement issued at a two-day meeting in Brussels, NATO's 28 defense ministers added: "Significant challenges remain, and success is not yet assured."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told ministers that the alliance needed to step up its training effort to allow the start of a handover of security responsibility to Afghan forces.

NATO also announced the opening of an alternate supply route to its troops in Afghanistan across Russia and Central Asia.

The alliance said a trainload of supplies for its 122,000-strong force arrived in Afghanistan on June 9, traveling via Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan for the first time. The shipment consisted of construction materials and food supplies.

Most NATO supplies enter Afghanistan through Pakistan, but the route has come under increasing attacks by militants in the border region.

compiled from agency reports