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Bush to call for more NATO troops in Afghanistan
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U.S. President George W. Bush said Saturday he will reiterate his call for NATO members to contribute more forces to the mission in Afghanistan at a summit in Bucharest, Romania in April.

"My administration has made it abundantly clear we expect people to carry a heavy burden if they are going to be in Afghanistan," Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch, with visiting Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Admitting "there are certain political constraints on certain countries," Bush said "I am going to go to Bucharest with the notion that we are thankful for the contributions being made, and encourage people to contribute more."

Bush made the remarks after a two-day talks with Rasmussen which focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Denmark, an ally of the United States, is helping with both security and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and has been involved in Iraqi security efforts since 2003. It has about 550 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led force, and about 500 supporting the U.S. commitment in Iraq.

The annual U.S.-led NATO summit is due to be held on April 2-4 in Bucharest, capital of Romania.

All 26 NATO nations have soldiers in Afghanistan. They all agree the mission is their top priority. But the refusal of European allies to send more combat troops is forcing an already stretched U.S. military -- focused on the Iraq war -- to fill the gap, and it is straining the Western alliance.

The United States contributes one-third of NATO's 42,000-memberInternational Security Assistance Force mission, making it the largest participant, ahead of Britain with about 7,700 soldiers in Afghanistan. The U.S. has another 12,000 to 13,000 troops there involved in counter terrorism operations.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2008)

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