Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wire: Gates Goes to NATO for More Help in Afghanistan

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Slovakia to ask NATO defense ministers to help the United States respond to the request for more resources made by the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

VOA News said Secretary Gates is in the awkward position of asking NATO allies to do more in Afghanistan, while President Barack Obama has been taking months reviewing his own plans. Gates told reporters on his aircraft it makes sense to have these talks now because the effort to stabilize and develop Afghanistan is a NATO mission, not just an American one.

This is an alliance issue and my view all along has been we ought to do this in a way that if General McChrystal has an additional set of needs, it should not be looked upon as exclusively the responsibility of the United States to respond," said the defense secretary.

Gates says since the NATO summit last spring he has seen "more energy and more commitment" among NATO nations to doing what is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan. He described current consultations with NATO allies as "intense."
General McChrystal says the allied effort could fail to prevent a militant takeover in Afghanistan unless he is given more resources. In a secret request, he is believed to be asking for 40,000 or more additional troops, on top of 68,000 U.S. and nearly 40,000 coalition troops already there, VOA noted.

Gates says that increased troop presence to provide security will not end problems of corruption and weak governance in Afghanistan. He says the international community will still have much work to do with any new government in Kabul to provide the kind of stability, security and services that will have a chance of convincing the Afghan people to support the government, rather than the militants of the Taliban and al-Qaida.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Gates Asks NATO for More Help in Afghanistan

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