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NATO Holds Emergency Meeting to Discuss Afghan Unrest
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NATO ambassadors met on Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the worsening security situation in Afghanistan and vowed to continue to expand its International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) into the more volatile south of the country.

On Tuesday, thirteen people including seven police were killed and as many persons injured when a suicide bomber targeted a police station in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed.

Taliban spokesperson Yusuf Ahmadi at the same time claimed responsibility for the explosion, and said a Taliban suicide bomber launched the attack.

Also on Tuesday, four Afghans were killed as rioters attacked Norwegian troops and exchanged fire with police after rampaging through the northern city of Maymana.

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer received assurances from Afghan President Hamid Karzai that Afghan authorities would bring the situation under control, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters after the emergency meeting.

He added that NATO reserves based elsewhere in Afghanistan had begun arriving in Maymana to reinforce security at the Norwegian-led base. "The in-theater reserves have arrived and have begun deploying," he said.

"There should be no doubt about NATO's commitment to this operation and to its intention and capability to continue with its expansion this summer," he said.

The 26-member alliance intends to send 6,000 more troops to the volatile south of the country later this year, boosting the number of international peacekeepers to 15,000.

ISAF, made up of nearly 10,000 troops from 36 countries, has been in Afghanistan since the ousting of the Taliban regime in late 2001. It came under NATO command in 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2006)

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