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Gates hails works of NATO Allies in Afghanistan


Washington : U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Thursday praised North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies for their work in Afghanistan.

Gates comments were also accompanied by this week’s announcement of deployment of U.S. Marines to Afghanistan. But, Gates said that the U.S. troop deployment “does not reflect dissatisfaction with the military performance in Afghanistan of allied forces from other nations.”

After a report on Wednesday quoted Gates as saying that “most of the European forces, NATO forces [in Afghanistan], are not trained in counter-insurgency,” Gates praised the “sacrifice” of the allied forces fighting to stabilize the country following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

The comments prompted a reaction from NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The Netherlands, one of the countries with forces in Afghanistan, summoned Ambassador Scheffer in The Hague to explain Gates’s comments.

“I have the greatest respect for what the allies are doing in the west, the north, the east and the south. All the countries in the south—where the going gets tough—are doing excellent work,” Scheffer said.