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Mr. Gates said he met yesterday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss Afghanistan and the need for NATO members to fulfill troop and equipment commitments and to improve coordination and cooperation.

Both Pentagon leaders said the plan to add five combat brigades to Baghdad for stability operations is on schedule to have most of the forces in place by June. Mr. Gates said any decision on troops withdrawals from Iraq would be made by Central Command leaders no earlier than this summer.