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NATO chief says success 'achievable'

From NBC's Athena Jones
Success will be achieved in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared today after a meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office.

The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization went on to say that the organization was committed to staying in Afghanistan for as long as necessary to get the job done.

"I'm convinced that success in Afghanistan is achievable and will be achieved," Rasmussen said. "And don't make any mistake -- the normal discussion on the right approach should not be misinterpreted as lack of resolve. This Alliance will stand united and we will stay in Afghanistan as long as it takes to finish our job."

The White House is undertaking a comprehensive review of strategy in Afghanistan, where civilian and troop deaths are on the rise, as Taliban forces spread to areas they have not previously operated. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S.'s top military commander in Afghanistan, reportedly wants up to 40,000 additional troops, though that resource request hasn't been formally forwarded to the president. A decision on whether to send more troops is weeks away -- at least.

Some Democrats in Congress have suggested they will not support a troop increase, while some of the president's Republican critics have said he is dragging his feet on making a decision on whether to send more forces. Obama has consistently argued it's important to make sure the U.S. has the proper strategy in the country.

"I agree with President Obama in his approach -- strategy first, then resources," Rasmussen said. "The first thing is not numbers; it is to find and fine-tune the right approach to implement the strategy already laid down. And all NATO allies are right now looking at McChrystal's review."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden were also in today's meeting. The president holds an expanded meeting on Afghanistan tomorrow with several other top officials, including Clinton, Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, and Gens. McChrystal and David Petraeus.

In their meeting today, Obama and Rasmussen also discussed the U.S.'s recent decision to focus on short- and medium-range missile defense in Europe, rather than long-range missile defense -- a move Rasmussen said would protect all allies and make the alliance stronger/

"NATO has been so successful that sometimes I think that we forget this was shaped and crafted for a 20th century landscape," Obama said. "We're now well into the 21st century, and that means that we are going to have to constantly renew and revitalize NATO to meet current threats and not just past threats."