NATO's Afghanistan will said wavering

Oct. 21, 2008 at 11:09 AM
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LONDON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The West's will to continue fighting in Afghanistan is wavering and reluctance to send troops into tough war zones is rising, a NATO military chief says.

U.S. Army Gen. John Craddock, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, says the growing reluctance by unnamed countries is hindering efforts to fight Islamic extremists, battle Afghanistan's opium trade and counter corruption, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Tuesday.

"We are demonstrating a political will that is in my judgment sometimes wavering," Craddock said Monday in a speech to London's Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank. "A brief look at the will of our allies in the mission in Afghanistan demonstrates some real shortcomings."

Although Craddock didn't mention any countries by name, Germany is one of the NATO members that has restricted its soldiers to the relatively safe northern part of the country and doesn't allow for combat missions, Deutsche Welle said. And while NATO commanders have called for more troops, member countries have been slow to commit.

In the speech, Craddock reportedly endorsed the view that Taliban insurgents will have to be engaged in negotiations at some point, saying, "The conflict in Afghanistan cannot be won by military means alone."

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