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Support But No Troops For Afghanistan

US President George W. Bush says the US will help train a new Afghan military, but makes clear he will not promise peacekeeping troops.

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Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai and US President George W. Bush answer questions at the White House.

Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai left the White House with the pledge for a $50 million line of credit to support private investment in his country. US President George W. Bush also announced that $223 million in previously frozen assets are being made available.

In a joint statement, Bush and Karzai said they were committed to building "a lasting partnership for the 21st century".

Bush said he would not commit US troops for peacekeeping purposes. Instead, Washington would help the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul with intelligence and logistics.

"Chairman Karzai, I reaffirm to you today that the United States will continue to be a friend to the Afghan people in the challenges that lie ahead," Bush said. "We will also support programs to train new police officers and help to establish and train an Afghanistan national military. Better yet than peacekeepers - which will be there for a while with our help - let's have Afghanistan have her own military."

Karzai pledged his support for America's ongoing war on terrorism. "This joint struggle of terrorism should go to the absolute end," he said. "We must finish them. We must bring them out of their caves and hide-outs. And we promise we'll do that."

"We stand together for a new and better future for Afghanistan - a future free from terror, war, and want," the leaders said. "We pledge our respect for the culture and traditions of the different peoples of Afghanistan, and for the great religion of Islam, which has been tragically distorted and misused by the Taliban.

Karzai is the first Afghan leader to visit Washington since former king Zahir Shah in 1963.

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