Obama Praises NATO For Afghan Support

Speaking at a press conference following the NATO Summit in Strasbourg, France this morning, President Barack Obama described the 60th anniversary meeting of European leaders as "very productive," in which pledges of additional resources for the war in Afghanistan were promised.
"These commitments of troops, trainers, and civilians represent a strong down payment on the future of our mission in Afghanistan and on the future of NATO," Mr. Obama said. "These are the new missions that NATO must take on in the 21st century and these are the new capabilities that we need to succeed. NATO was founded upon mutual responsibility to our common security. Today I'm confident that we took a substantial step forward in renewing our alliance to meet the challenges of our time."

Saying that al Qaeda and other terrorists threaten every member of NATO, President Obama said he briefed NATO leaders on the administration's new Afghanistan strategy and discussed a way forward, starting with a simple premise:

"For years, our efforts in Afghanistan have lacked the resources needed to achieve our goals," he said during a press conference in Strausbourg following the meeting. "That's why the United States has recommitted itself to a clear and focused goal: To disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future."

Mr. Obama said NATO has already started to match "real resources" to achieve these goals. "Our allies and partners have already agreed to provide approximately 5,000 troops and trainers to advance our new strategy, as well as increased civilian assistance. To support critical elections for August 20, NATO will fully resource our election support force to maximize security. And our allies have committed additional funds to an Afghan Elections Trust Fund that will provide the necessary resources for free and fair elections.

"This effort cannot be America's alone," he said. "All of NATO understands that al Qaeda is a threat to all of us, and that this collective security effort must achieve its goals."

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.