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Bush 5thLd-Writethru 02-15

Associated Press

President Bush speaks about the Global War on Terror during an address at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington Thursday.

Bush presses NATO allies

President Bush said Thursday that NATO allies need to supply more soldiers to Afghanistan and be willing to send them into the most violent battles with Taliban fighters, who are gearing up for a new spring offensive.

"When our commanders on the ground say to our respective countries we need additional help, our NATO countries must provide it," Bush said.

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Flush with money from heroin-producing poppy crops, Taliban fighters have proven much tougher than NATO expected when it deployed its first contingent of peacekeepers there in 2003.

"I’ve ordered an increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan," Bush said in a speech that comes five years after U.S.-led forces toppled Afghanistan’s repressive Taliban regime. "We’ve extended the stay of 3,200 troops now in the country, for four months, and we’ll deploy a replacement force that will sustain this increase for the foreseeable future."

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