October 25, 2007
The Dutch government said other NATO allies must send troops to support its 1,600 soldiers in Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province or the parliament may not extend the Dutch mission beyond August.
"There is no such thing as a free ride to peace and security," Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop said at a meeting of NATO nations' defense ministers in the Netherlands. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates attended the event to press for more military support.
Germany, Italy, France and Spain have refused to commit significant forces to southern and eastern Afghanistan, where most of the fighting has occurred.