Gates smooths over remarks critical of NATO allies

( dpa ) - US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he was not singling out any countries when he criticized NATO for lagging in counterinsurgency expertise, saying his remarks were addressing the entire alliance, including the United States.

"We have gone out to people to try and clarify that I wasn't talking about any particular allies, but that the alliance as a whole ... has not refocused in terms of its overall program in terms of counterinsurgency," Gates told reporters in the Pentagon.

Gates, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Wednesday, said NATO's experience in Afghanistan has highlighted shortcomings in training and skills when it comes to fighting against an insurgency.

"I'm worried that we have some military forces that don't know how to do counterinsurgency operations," Gates told the newspaper.

"Most of the European forces, NATO forces, are not trained in counterinsurgency. They were trained for the Fulda Gap," he said of the German region where the west anticipated a Soviet invasion would take place during the Cold War.

Gates' remarks were viewed as a jab at British, Dutch, Canadian and Danish troops fighting alongside the Americans in southern Afghanistan against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The criticism sparked anger in some European capitals and prompted the Dutch defence minister, Eimert van Middelkoop, to summon the US ambassador to the Netherlands, Roland Arnall, to a meeting to clarify the remarks.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer came to the defence of NATO forces.

"Counter insurgency is a very complex thing and not always easy," Scheffer said. "I have great respect for what they are doing and I have specifically great respect for what the nations in the south are doing."

Gates told reporters that his comments were meant to raise the need for NATO to improve counterinsurgency warfare and pointed out the US forces have at times also fallen short in their capability to handle insurgencies.

"The United States has had to basically relearn counterinsurgency and as a government, including the civil side, we still have some deficiencies in that respect," Gates said.

Gates praised allies to for their help in fighting the Taliban.

"Allied forces from the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark and other nations have stepped up to the plate and are playing a significant and powerful role in Afghanistan," he said.

"As a result of the valor and sacrifice of these allies, the Taliban has suffered significant losses and no longer holds real estate of any consequence," he said.

The United States has been frustrated, however, by the rules some allies, like France and Germany, have placed on their troops in Afghanistan limiting them to peacekeeping roles in relatively safe areas of the country. The United States has also lobbied allies to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Gates this week ordered 3,200 Marines to Iraq in March and April ahead of an expected spring offensive by the Taliban. NATO and US commanders have requested and additional 7,500 soldiers.

Gates said the Marines were being deployed to help meet the gap and not because he was unsatisfied with the capability of the NATO forces already there.

"This deployment of Marines does not reflect dissatisfaction about the military performance in Afghanistan of allied forces from other nations," Gates said.

There are already 26,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan, about half of them under NATO command. There are about 54,000 allied troops in the country in total.

Gates said he will press NATO allies to provide more troops to account for the temporary Marine deployment that will conclude at the end of 2008.

Georgian banks see profit in 1Q2021
Georgian banks see profit in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan launches system for predicting impact of tax benefits on state revenues
Azerbaijan launches system for predicting impact of tax benefits on state revenues
Azerbaijan's AzFina, CBA developing bill on regulation of payment systems
Azerbaijan's AzFina, CBA developing bill on regulation of payment systems
Loading Bars
Food prices continue to climb in April - FAO
Turkey reports over 22 388 COVID-19 cases
At least 23 killed in Rio de Janeiro favela gun battle
Kyrgyzstan is interested in establishing joint Kyrgyz-Korean enterprises
Turkey's 1Q2021 revenues from car export to int'l market grow
We reject, don't recognize decision of Latvian gov't on so-called "Armenian genocide" - Turkish Defense Ministry
Georgia launches campaign to popularize state agricultural insurance program
New “Azerbaijan” Ro-Pax ship built in country’s shipyard to make its first voyage from Port of Baku (PHOTO/VİDEO)
Former Maldives president hurt in blast outside home
Turkey’s inactive COVID-19 vaccine makes it to WHO list
Saudi Arabia showing interest in importing Azerbaijan's AzGranata products
Araghchi arrives in Vienna to attend 4th round of JCPOA talks
Kazakhstan - Greece trade down y-o-y
Georgian banks see profit in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan’s Azerishig company opens tender to buy various combined, storage accessories
Uzbek TPP to use German equipment for energy production
Azerbaijani national team holds podium training for upcoming Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (VIDEO)
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy Cisco network switches
Kazakhstan, Russia lift mutual restrictions on import, transit of livestock products
World auto concerns’ production volume to decrease during 6M2021
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office welcomes release of Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan
Greece decreases petroleum oil exports from Kazakhstan
Sputnik Light vaccine can be used for people aged 18-60
Moderna booster increases antibodies against COVID-19 variants, early data shows
Azerbaijan names amount of subsidies paid out for cropping
Yerevan ready to exert all efforts to fulfill trilateral agreements on Karabakh - acting PM of Armenia
Lebanon could gradually go dark as cash for electricity runs out
New greenhouse to be built in Turkmenistan’s Mary region
Several digitalization projects implemented in Kazakh oil & gas sector
Kazakhstan's president decides to provide humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan
Real estate purchases soar in Kazakhstan
Saudi Arabia eyes importing finished meat products from Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's non-oil exports show positive trend despite impact of COVID-19 - minister
Kazakh Kazgeology eyes working on promising areas of natural resources
Main part of Iran's trade carried out by sea - analyst
Israel and Korea to sign free trade agreement next week
EU continues to support Georgia SMEs
Azerbaijan launches system for predicting impact of tax benefits on state revenues
Azerbaijan's AzFina, CBA developing bill on regulation of payment systems
Georgia's minister claims inflation in country to decrease in coming months
Kazakhstan reports increase in oil, natural gas prices
Azerbaijan may change procedure for navigation on inland waters for fishing vessels
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 6
Construction of Ahmadbayli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway in Azerbaijan continues (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan confirms 844 more COVID-19 cases, 2,057 recoveries
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy power cables via tender
Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union to focus on int'l trade and dev't of transport services - Honorary Consul
First section of Georgian Rikoti Highway to open soon
Kazakh IT company involved in creation of "smart" settlements in Azerbaijan
Japanese TEPSCO to join creating green energy zone in Azerbaijan's liberated territories
Azerbaijan's Mine Action Agency eyes to purchase new mine clearance equipment
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for construction of security facility for gas treatment
Turkmen Ministry of Construction extends tender for design of buildings
Georgia to host annual meeting of ADB board of governors
Spain tourist arrivals slump 76% in March, recovery still far off
Azerbaijan's construction sector output to grow till 2026 - expert
Trade ministry discloses volume of cereals imported by Austria from Turkey
Share of mining sector in Baku's industrial production disclosed
Amazing opportunities created for athletes in Baku’s National Gymnastics Arena - Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of chemicals
Kazakhstan's National Bank unveils preliminary balance of payments data
Statistics on trade turnover between Spain, Turkmenistan revealed
Uzbekistan receives permission to export pomegranates to China
Moderna raises 2021 sales forecast for COVID-19 vaccine to $19.2 billion
Not calling released soldiers as "POWs" by OSCE Minsk Group - outrageous - Armenian media
Tesla developing platform to allow car owners in China data access
Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds in Iran
Over 10 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Saudi Arabia
Russia reports over 7,600 COVID-19 cases in the past day
Revanchist statements in Armenia mustn't be taken seriously - Azerbaijani Security Council
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan fluctuate
No reason to worry about fulfillment of trilateral statement - Azerbaijan's Security Council
Nominations for gas flows at TAP’s interconnections
Azerbaijan to build road to legendary "Isa Spring" in Shusha city
EU countries agree to open up to Israeli tourists
Turkmenistan names data on deposits in credit institutions
Iran unveils volume of transit through Gilan Province
Largest share of Uzbek textile production falls on Fergana region
Turkey boosts export of cars to Kazakhstan
Turkey publishes data on 4M2021 steel exports
Iran's Amir-Kabir Petrochemical Company beats sets new production record
Turkey's 4M2021 exports of locally-made furniture up in value
Turkey reveals 4M2021 data on export of grains, legumes to Azerbaijan
Exports through Iran's Astara border checkpoint increase
Uzbekistan to launch several TPPs in 2021
Uzbek agency reveals data on most profitable companies
ADB approves loan for construction of Georgia’s Olympic swimming pool
Georgia in talks with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax to receive vaccines
Georgian ISET-PI shares pricing on residential real estate in Tbilisi
Georgian Pension Agency shares data on pension fund's assets
Uzbekistan reveals number of vaccinated people
Kazakh uranium extracting company opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan decreases trade with Canada amid COVID-19
China increases import of Turkish-made cars
Turkey reveals 1Q2021 data on cargo movement via local ports from Belgium
Kaspersky Lab shares data on Azerbaijani users facing cyber attacks in 2020
Several facilities in education sector put into operation in Iran
Gold production at Iran's Zarshouran mine increases
Azerbaijan to completely clear "Victory Road" to Shusha city of mines soon
Azerbaijan shares details on mine clearance in liberated territories
All news