Belgium NATO's top commander renewed an appeal Tuesday for allies to fill gaps in the international military force in Afghanistan, warning that failure to send reinforcements was weakening the mission and jeopardizing the lives of soldiers fighting the Taliban.
Taliban guerrillas have proven much tougher than the alliance expected in 2003 when its first contingent of peacekeepers deployed to Afghanistan. Last year, fighting surged and commanders have warned that even fiercer combat can be expected if the insurgents launch a spring offensive against the Kabul government.
"We do not have adequate forces," Gen. John Craddock said at NATO's military headquarters in southern Belgium. "It makes accomplishing the mission that more difficult. It places every NATO soldier there at greater risk."