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US Appeals for International Help to Enhance Afghan Security

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is again appealing to the international community to do more to help enhance Afghanistan's security.

Mr. Rumsfeld says that without security, very little is possible in terms of rebuilding Afghanistan.

But Mr. Rumsfeld tells Pentagon reporters international donors have so far not committed a single dollar to funding security programs, including the training of an Afghan national army or funding peacekeeping operations.

He says the United States is doing what it can. But Mr. Rumsfeld says other countries should do more. "We are not the only country on the face of the earth who can do things, and there are other countries who are perfectly capable of doing things as well," he said. "And it's an awful lot easier to stand back and point a finger and say why isn't something bigger, better or longer or richer or more of this, than it is to say, 'Okay, I'll line up and help.'"

Mr. Rumsfeld does not single out any countries by name for criticism.

But other Pentagon officials tell VOA the defense secretary was referring to European countries, including France and Italy.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rumsfeld says despite the war on terrorism and other pressures on U.S. forces worldwide, the Pentagon will be able to undertake any mission ordered by President Bush, including an attack on Iraq.

"I can assure you that anything that the United States needs to undertake and decides to undertake, we will undertake, and we will undertake it successfully," he said.

The defense secretary made the comment in response to questions about U.S. military readiness after some senior commanders told Congress recently their forces were overextended and exhausted.

On yet another matter, Mr. Rumsfeld says the United States is fully justified in detaining al-Qaida and Taleban fighters indefinitely. He says that to release enemy captives so that they can return to the battlefield would put the lives of American servicemen at risk.