Gates Asks Europe for More Afghan Troops

Says Iraq-weary Euros underestimate threat of unstable Afghanistan
By John Abell,  Newser User
Posted Feb 10, 2008 12:18 PM CST
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks during a news conference of the Informal Meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania,Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates appealed today to European allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, saying in Munich that the "threat posed by violent Islamic extremism is real" and that NATO's credibility in combating it is at stake, Reuters reports. France has indicated it could send more troops, but Germany has said it will not increase its commitment.

European support for the Afghan war is "weak," he said, because many underestimate the "direct threat" an unstable Afghanistan could pose to Europe. Gates acknowledges that antipathy toward the Iraq war is tainting Europe's Afghan policy, the Voice of America reported, but he stressed today that major terrorist attacks had been hatched in Afghanistan—and could be again.