As a top-level meeting on Wednesday at the NATO headquarters in the Belgian city of Mons, the US made clear that it expected countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain to provide the extra troops.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a visit to Canada, lectured NATO on Tuesday that an “Afghanistan that does not complete its democratic evolution and become a stable terror-fighting state is going to come back to haunt us. It will haunt our successors and their successors”. The US ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, declared that “the issue here is the fighting capacity and the fighting willingness of all allies”.
As far as the Bush administration is concerned, subduing the Afghan people and propping up a pro-US regime in Kabul is now the problem of its European allies, and the price they must pay for good relations with Washington. The US military is stretched to the limit by the number of personnel it has been forced to keep in Iraq and the preparations it has been ordered to make for action against Iran.