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NATO Chief Urges Afghan President To Protect ISAF Soldiers From Attacks

3/1/2012 5:02 AM ET

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to take all necessary steps to halt violence and protect personnel of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from attacks.

Karzai provided reassurances in this regard during their telephonic conversation on Wednesday, NATO said in a statement. They also discussed preparations for the Chicago summit and the commitment of NATO and member-states to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan.

Rasmussen's appeal comes in the wake of an alarming trend of civilians, disguised as Afghan security personnel, or Afghan soldiers themselves targeting ISAF personnel.

Earlier, the NATO chief met in Washington, DC, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon to discuss a range of issues related to the upcoming Alliance summit scheduled for May 20-21 in Chicago.

The summit will focus on NATO's commitment to Afghanistan through transition and beyond, ensuring the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to defend its population and territory and to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening NATO's network of partners across the globe.

Rasmussen also chaired an informal meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the State Department and reviewed preparations for the summit. During the meeting, NATO Allies were briefed by senior U.S. officials. The Secretary-General also met with Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and with Senator Lindsey Graham from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

NATO said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss policy issues related to the Chicago Summit and beyond with representatives of the host nation.

by RTT Staff Writer

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