Senators press NATO on Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A fifth of the members of the US Senate on Friday warned the situation in Afghanistan was quickly getting worse and called on Washington’s NATO allies to share more of the security burden.

he senators complained that “caveats” restricting how certain members of the alliance’s troops could be used in the restive nation were unfair to countries that did put their soldiers in high-risk situations.

“The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly,” said Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, who laid out his concerns in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer.

“The United States alone cannot combat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and the violence that is regaining a foothold, particularly in southern Afghanistan.”

“The imposition of caveats by some nations places an unfair burden on the troops of other nations and hinders operational efficiency,” said Dodd.

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who also signed the letter, along with 21 other senators, warned that without action, NATO ran a “serious risk” of failing in Afghanistan.

“We must ensure that the Taliban are uprooted, and that an effective Afghan force can take responsibility for the security of Afghanistan.”

“But, the United States alone cannot effectively accomplish these goals; we need the robust support of our NATO allies,” Hagel said.

NATO has appeared increasingly embattled in Afghanistan in recent days, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai, accused the alliance-led ISAF force and separate US-led coalition of killing about 90 civilians this month, most in air operations.

A total of 93 foreign soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year, most to hostile actio

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