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U.S. Senator Seeks Greater European Role In Afghanistan

McCain, right, during today's security conference (Courtesy Photo) MUNICH, February 10, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Senator John McCain today called on the United States' European allies to do more in the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

McCain told the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy today that European members of NATO should send at least 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan to match the latest increase in U.S. forces.

Drop Restrictions

He also said European NATO forces should be made available for any operation, noting that many states currently place restrictions on where and how their troops can operate in Afghanistan.

McCain said Moscow cannot enjoy a genuine partnership with the West so long as its actions conflict with core democratic values.

He said the efforts in Afghanistan are a multilateral operation and that unilateral restrictions on the use of some forces should not be allowed.

McCain also called on the NATO allies to do more to help Afghanistan train its own armed forces and police forces. He noted that Germany, which has taken on the largest European role in training Afghan police, has only 41 instructors in Afghanistan.

No Sanctuary

McCain told the conference that the failure of the NATO mission in Afghanistan could lead to the country reverting to its former role as a sanctuary for terrorists.

He said he believes that if NATO were to fail to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan it would be difficult for the alliance to take on a similar operation in another country.

He said such a failure would also be a major blow to NATO's credibility.

Response To Putin

McCain also responded to comments Russian President Vladimir Putin made today during his keynote address to the conference. In his speech, Putin was sharply critical of the United States.

McCain said Moscow must understand that it cannot enjoy a genuine partnership with the West so long as its actions, at home and abroad, conflict with the core values of the Euro-Atlantic democracies.

McCain warned that Russia may be slipping back into the past. Putin was not in the hall to hear McCain's comments.