Addressing roughly 3,000 students at a town hall-style meeting in Strasbourg, France, Obama said he would look to America's European allies for increasing civil and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan.
"But," he added, "there will be a military component to it."
Obama just announced a new Afghanistan strategy that includes increasing troop levels in the region. He told the students that "Europe should not simply expect the United States to shoulder the burden alone."
Obama is in France to attend NATO's 60th anniversary summit, held in Strasbourg and in the German cities Kehl and Baden-Baden just across the border.
The high-profile summit is due to focus on Afghanistan, where the alliance has 60,000 troops fighting a Taliban-led insurgency. Obama has in the past made it clear that he wants to step up NATO's efforts there.
To win the war in Afghanistan, "we need an alliance that is even stronger than the one that brought down a wall in Berlin," Obama said.