Sunday, February 11, 2007

McCain criticizes Europe on Afghanistan

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Senator John McCain, a Republican contender for the White House in 2008, chastised Europe on Saturday for failing to supply the troops and money to win in Afghanistan and said NATO's future was at stake.

In tough comments that singled out specific countries, McCain told NATO allies to move beyond the "false debate" over security and development priorities in Afghanistan -- a dispute that dominated a defense ministers' meeting earlier this week.

Instead, Europe should follow Washington's lead and put more forces and resources into the war effort.

"Military recommitment must begin with NATO countries providing an adequate number of troops for the fight," McCain told the Munich Security Conference of senior world politicians, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"... Yet the international community still falls far short in meeting its prior pledges and in committing the resources Afghanistan needs to avoid failure," he said in prepared remarks.

The senator's comments were more pointed in their criticism of Europe than other public statements from President George W. Bush's administration.

But they reflected growing frustration among some U.S. officials and others in Washington over what is seen as Europe's unwillingness to pay its fair share for involvement in Afghanistan.

Germany and Italy were singled out in McCain's speech. He said Germany must significantly increase police trainers in Afghanistan and Italy, responsible for judicial reform in the country, should raise more funds internationally for reform efforts he said were needed to curb government corruption.


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