Three European powers called for a new international conference on Afghanistan, hoping to accelerate and improve training of its security forces and lay out a timetable for Afghans to take back full control of their country.
Britain's Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, and Germany's Angela Merkel sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for the meeting by the end of the year.
The escalation of war and rising allied casualties have sparked criticism in North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations about the continued military commitment nearly eight years after a multinational coalition toppled the Taliban government and sent its Al Qaeda allies into hiding. Critics say the deaths of civilians in NATO airstrikes and allegations of massive fraud in the recent presidential election are undermining the legitimacy of the Western-backed government in Kabul.
The three leaders called for "new prospects and goals" in Afghanistan on governance, law, security, and economic and social development. The letter made no mention of the allegations of electoral fraud.