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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 04:44 AM
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Gates seeks more from European allies
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Gates seeks more from European allies
By Robert Burns - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Dec 13, 2007 19:31:46 EST

EDINBURGH, Scotland Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday pushed European allies for more troops to re-energize efforts in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency has increased its attacks in the 18 months since NATO took command of the war.

Even as it struggles to find a way out of Iraq, the Bush administration is saddled with troubling signs in Afghanistan, where the government is weak, the insurgency is relentless and casualties are mounting. Gates also must worry about sagging public support.

Opening two days of talks with allied defense and diplomatic officials, Gates hoped to stir discussion of forming an overarching strategy for Afghanistan that could be adopted by NATO government leaders at a summit next April. It was not clear that all NATO members agree such a plan is even needed, and no firm decisions on a way forward were expected in Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh talks marked the latest effort by Gates to inject a sense of urgency not only in the south, where the Talibans influence is strongest, but also on the broader challenge of strengthening the central government in Kabul and building an economy that does not revolve around the illicit drug trade.

Gates has cautioned since the beginning of his tenure at the Pentagon one year ago that the gains achieved in Afghanistan over the past six years are at risk of being lost unless the U.S. and its NATO allies carry out comprehensive military, economic and diplomatic solutions.

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