From Reuters: The new head of NATO, in his first major U.S. speech as secretary-general, will address what he says are doubts in America over the alliance and fears that allies are “running from the fight” in Afghanistan.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in prepared remarks seen by Reuters, will acknowledge the need for more resources to battle the Taliban in the face of mounting Western casualties and fading public support for the war.
But Rasmussen will also argue that downplaying the efforts so far by NATO allies is counterproductive, unjustified and will leave them ‘less inclined to make those efforts and those sacrifices’ in the future.
“I’m a little concerned about the doubts I hear these days in the United States about NATO,” Rasmussen, who took over the job last month, says in the speech to be delivered at the Atlantic Council in Washington at 5 p.m. EDT.
“Talking down the European and Canadian contributions – as some here in the U.S. do, on occasion – can become a self-fulfilling prophesy….”
Rasmussen says more resources will be required and stresses the need to rapidly train Afghan forces so that they can take the lead in providing for their own security. He adds that “we have to do more now, if we want to be able to do less later.”
“None of this will be quick, and none of it will be easy. We will need to have patience. We will need more resources. And we will lose more young soldiers to the terrorist attacks of the Taliban,” Rasmussen says. (photo: Reuters)