KABUL – NATO to send up to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan ahead of election

China View, June 19, 2009

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer attend a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on June 17, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, June 19 — The visiting NATO’s Secretary General Jaap de Hope Scheffer on Wednesday announced sending additional troops to Afghanistan ahead of the second presidential election after the fall of Taliban regime set for August 20 this year.

Soundbite:Scheffer, NATO’s Secretary General “We are bringing extra forces into Afghanistan for a protection role between 8,000 and 10,000, if you want to know the numbers of whom will come on temporary bases to Afghanistan.”

The outgoing NATO chief described Afghanistan’s coming election as“very important” for both Afghans and the international community, saying ISAF along with Afghan security forces would do its best to help Afghans have a transparent election in a peaceful environment.

Scheffer, during his last tour to Afghanistan as NATO Secretary General, once against repeated the military alliance commitment towards the post-Taliban Afghanistan.

“We would be alongside Afghan people and we will support Afghan people,” he stressed.

The NATO top diplomat also expressed concern over civilian casualties during military operations against anti-government militants, saying “we will do everything which is in our power to prevent loss of innocent life, loss of innocent civilian life.” He asserted that the international forces would do its best to minimize civilian casualties.

Repeated harming non-combatants has risen anti-U.S. forces resentment in Afghanistan while President Karzai and Afghan citizens at large have repeatedly asked the international forces to protect civilian life as it would not serve the U.S.-led war on terror.

Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from KABUL.

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