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The official noted that NATO is maintaining more than 50,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, 5,000 soldiers in Kosovo, a counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, Patriot missile batteries to help protect Turkey from rocket attacks from Syria, and many other tasks.

“Of course, in these difficult economic times, we have to be realistic and all NATO allies have had to balance their budgetary priorities,” the official said. “But the crisis should not be an excuse for doing less.”