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4 Apr, 2009 15:26

NATO chief: Afghanistan is now a key priority

European leaders have hailed the new US-drafted strategy for Afghanistan, but not with more troops.

European members of the alliance have resisted committing more soldiers to the eight-year-old campaign, now in trouble, and which has dominated NATO's 60th-birthday two-day summit in Strasbourg.

They're also due to issue a statement on the organization's strategic goals – the first in a decade.

According to NATO's chief, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Afghanistan is now a key priority.

“NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan is the most ambitious operation the alliance has ever undertaken. And in spite of the challenges we are confronted with, the progress achieved gives us the certainty that we should be able to help the Afghans to ensure that the country enters in a new era, where it will no longer represent a threat to international security,” said NATO’s Secretary General.


While the summit continues, over 300 anti-NATO protesters have been arrested in three days of demonstrations against the NATO summit.

In Strasbourg, riot police have used tear gas and rubber bullets on protestors.

Thousands are expected on the streets on Saturday, along with a huge security presence.