NATO wants more Italian troops for Afghanistan

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer asked Italian officials to increase Italian troops, military planes and special units in Afghanistan. "We have discussed what more your government might do compared with what it does now," de Hoop Scheffer said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

"If we talk about planes, we need more, always," the NATO chief was quoted as saying. "If you ask me if I want more troops and special units, as secretary general I say, "Yes, of course."'

Italy has a 1,300-strong contingent stationed in Kabul and Herat.

De Hoop Scheffer did not say in the interview how his request had been received. He stressed, that "Prodi has given assurances over Italy's commitment," and added he expected no significant changes in Italy's stance since the previous government led by conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi, reports the AP.