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Politics Last Updated: Mar 11th, 2011 - 15:30:48

Robert Gates Accuses NATO Allies of Neglecting Afghanistan
David Hope
Mar 11, 2011, 07:55

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Robert Gates, the U.S. Defense Secretary, bluntly lectured NATO allies in Brussels Friday for neglecting their duties in Afghanistan.

"Frankly, there is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right," Gates told his fellow defense ministers. "Too much discussion of exit and not enough discussion about continuing the fight. Too much concern about when and how many troops might redeploy and not enough about what needs to be done before they leave."

The New York Times reported the Pentagon's transcript of the closed-door session.

Gates indicated the U.S. withdrawal planned for July would involve only a few thousand troops. "We will not sacrifice the significant gains made to date, or the lives lost, for a political gesture," he said.

Gates' remarks seemed targeted at Europe, where the Afghan war is increasingly unpopular, and particularly Germany and Britain, which have a combined 13,900 troops in Afghanistan. The United States has about 100,000 there.

The Bundestag voted in January to begin withdrawing German soldiers by the end of this year, and the British said in December their forces may begin leaving as well. Poland and Canada are also withdrawing, and the Dutch already have.

Source: UPI

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