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France offers troops for Afghanistan
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NATO leaders were "totally united" on the importance of the Afghan mission, said the spokesman. They all agreed that the mission has to succeed to prevent the Taliban from taking power again.

They also agreed that Afghanistan is a long-term commitment and that the allies should step up efforts toward a transition phase, where the Afghans themselves will take the primary responsibility for security of their country.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has 47,000 troops in Afghanistan. But only four NATO allies -- the United States, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands -- are engaged in fighting with the Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists in the south and east.

Sarkozy's announcement served as a sigh of relief after months of wrangling across the Atlantic.

U.S. President George W. Bush was upbeat on Wednesday about the troops boost.

"I feel good about what I'm hearing from my fellow leaders about their desire to support Afghanistan," Bush said in a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2008)

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