December 17th, 2009
11:51 AM ET

NATO chief asks Russia to bolster help for Afghanistan

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is asking Russia to broaden its presence in Afghanistan with more choppers and expanded police training.

With many nations such as Britain, Italy, Poland, Slovakia recently pledging to send more troops to Afghanistan to augment the U.S. surge, Rasmussen said he is looking for ways Russia "could expand its assistance."

"I have proposed that Russia provide a helicopter package," he told CNN. "I hope the Russians will consider my proposal positively."

Rasmussen said he also spoke with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about expanding its training of Afghan army and police. But the two did not talk about Russia sending troops, Rasmussen said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said in the past that Russia would continue to allow cargo shipments through its territory to help supply NATO forces and maintain its training of Afghan law enforcement and counter-narcotics officials. But he said that Russia would not take on a military role in Afghanistan.

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