NATO countries have been urged to step up their efforts in Afghanistan, to train and equip local forces in the face of a growing Taliban threat.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned defence ministers meeting in Slovakia that failure to act decisively will have serious consequences. NATO knows that public support for the mission is waning, with more and more people saying the cost in lives is becoming too high, with no end in sight. But Rasmussen insisted that the cost of inaction would be far higher. The Bratislava security conference comes as President Obama is considering a call from his senior commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for thousands more troops to fight the Taliban. The meeting is not expected to lead to any decision on troop levels, and the President has already said Afghanistan must prove it is a credible and trustworthy partner.