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Howard calls on NATO for Afghan support

Oct. 27, 2007 at 3:39 PM

SYDNEY, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard asked members of NATO Saturday to become actively involved in anti-Taliban efforts in Afghanistan.

Howard's call for international assistance in Afghanistan came on the heels of the death of Matthew Locke, an Australian soldier who was shot and killed in the Afghan province of Oruzgan recently, The Sydney Morning Herald said Saturday.

Howard said the soldier's death represented a new Taliban focus on Australian troops, along with those from other countries like the United States and Britain.

"These are the countries doing the heavy lifting," Howard said.

"It would be a very good idea if some of the other NATO countries made a bigger contribution," the prime minister added, "because much of the really heavy lifting in Afghanistan is being done by Americans, Canadians, British, Dutch and the Australians."

The Herald said Howard would not specify which nations he thought should join the 37 countries currently battling the Taliban throughout Afghanistan.

"I think we all know which countries I am referring to," Howard said.

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