Bush 13thLd-Writethru 04-02 Web

Bush urges fight against Taliban

President Bush urged NATO allies today to recognize the seriousness of the anti-Taliban mission in Afghanistan and step up with more troops for the fight.

"We expect our NATO allies to shoulder the burden necessary to succeed," Bush said, appearing alongside Romanian President Traian Basescu at a news conference on a wind-whipped Black Sea beach.

Bush welcomed recent announcements by at least 10 countries, including France, Germany, Norway and Poland, to provide additional troops to the 47,000-strong NATO force in Afghanistan. He stepped around a dispute between member nations, including Britain, Canada and the United States, that have combat troops in Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas, and those such as Germany, Italy and Spain that are limiting their forces to the more stable north and west.

He said the outcome in Afghanistan is too important to turn away. Failure, he said, could produce a safe haven again for terrorists and destroy an aspiring democracy.

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