NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen is urging European member states to contribute more to the Afghan mission. His appeal in Brussels Wednesday comes as the Obama administration debates a request for thousands of additional troops from the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.
There are currently 100,000 U.S. and NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan. General McChrystal is expected to request up to 40,000 more troops even as violence surges in Afghanistan. 2009 is the deadliest year for foreign forces since the conflict began eight years ago.
As Washington reassesses its strategy in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warns the non-U.S. member nations must contribute more.
There must continue to be a fair balance between what the US is doing and what other allies are contributing to this effort," said Rasmussen.
The NATO chief said the failure of non-U.S. alliance members to send more troops and resources to Afghanistan could endanger the trans-Atlantic relationship. "The U.S. must know and see that in difficult times - indeed precisely when it is most difficult - this alliance stands together and contributes together."
Many Europeans are opposed to continuing their nation's military involvement in Afghanistan -- with no signs of an early end to the conflict.
Despite this, Rasmussen said NATO remains committed to completing the job, but he also made an appeal to train more Afghan security forces. He said it is embarrassing that the European Union has not yet fully deployed its police training mission to Afghanistan.