ANKARA - Turkey's army chief has rejected a call by NATO to send reinforcements to Afghanistan to combat a strong insurgency in the south of the conflict-scarred country, the NTV news channel reported Friday.

"Not a single soldier from the Turkish armed forces will go to Afghanistan for the fight against terrorism. There is no need for such a thing and it is out of the question," General Yasar Buyukanit was quoted by the station's website as saying.

NATO's military commander on Thursday called on allied countries to increase the size of their contingent in the face of what he described as increased violence by the former ruling Taliban militia in southern Afghanistan.

"We are talking about modest reinforcements," US General James Jones told reporters at NATO's military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium.

Jones said NATO did not need a great number but it was important for them to have the capacity to act in a robust manner.

"We are talking about reserves that would give more flexibility to the commander" in the south, he said.

Jones added that he would repeat his call for members of the transatlantic alliance to provide more soldiers at a meeting of NATO chiefs of defence staff in Warsaw on Friday and Saturday.

Turkey, which has led the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) twice, currently has 260 soldiers in Kabul.

09/08/2006 08:20 GMT

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