NATO commander renews Afghanistan troop request

NATO's top commander has renewed an appeal for allies to urgently provide up to 2,500 troops for the battle with Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan, but officials said it likely would take two weeks before governments replied. Gen. James L. Jones told a closed meeting of ambassadors from the 26 NATO allies on Friday that Poland's welcome offer of 900 troops in February had not diminished the immediate need for more troops, according to NATO officials. Diplomats said governments needed time to assess what forces they could make available, to test political support for deployment and to find funding for such a mission.