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Italy's PM visits Afghanistan

  • Story Highlights
  • Italian PM Romano Prodi in Afghanistan to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai
  • Prodi is also expected to visit with some of the Italian troops stationed there
  • Prodi's visit follows a day after the leaders of France and Australia visited Afghanistan
  • Italy has 2,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, mainly in its western Herat region
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi arrived in Afghanistan Sunday morning to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and to visit with his country's troops participating in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry said.

art.prodi.karzai.afp.gi.jpg

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, hugs Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi in Kabul prior to a meeting.

Prodi's visit follows a day after the leaders of France and Australia paid similar visits to Afghanistan.

The Italian Prime Minister also met with ISAF Commander General Dan McNeill to discuss the contribution to the war in Afghanistan by Italian forces, according to an ISAF statement.

Prodi also visited Italian troops stationed in western Afghanistan.

Most of Italy's 2,400 troops assigned to ISAF are stationed in western Afghanistan's Herat region and in Kabul, the statement said. ISAF consists of 39 countries and approximately 41,000 troops.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was elected in a landslide victory on November 24, told reporters at a news conference in Kabul Saturday that his country was in Afghanistan "for the long haul."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his meeting with the Afghan leader, "assured President Karzai of his government's long term political and military support with the people of Afghanistan," according to a statement from the Afghan president's office. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Journalist Farhad Peikar in Kabul contributed to this report.

All About Afghanistan WarRomano ProdiHamid KarzaiNicolas SarkozyThe TalibanAl QaedaAfghanistan

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