NATO Chief’s Warning over Lack of Military Readiness

Mike O'Brien

NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has aired concerns that the alliance lacks military readiness in crucial areas.

Mr. Rasmussen (pictured) is urging European members to pour more resources into readiness and has pointed out 15 "problem areas."

He said NATO had an "insufficient supply of precision munitions" such as self-guided missiles. Citing an internal document, the German news service quoted Rasmussen as saying he didn’t believe the situation would improve before 2019.

There were also deficits in aerial refueling of fighter jets. NATO required at least 235 refueling jets but had only 81, excluding any available American aircraft, Agence France-Presse reports.

Mr. Rasmussen also pointed out a shortfall in medical personnel, electronic jamming devices and equipment for special forces

He described the unequal burden-sharing between the United States and its European allies as untenable.

The rule that one country must not carry more than half of the total burden has often been breached, he said, adding: "Most of the allies need to do more."

His comments come as NATO forces face increasing attacks in Afghanistan. On Monday seven heavily armed Taliban fighters launched a pre-dawn attack near the country's main airport, apparently targeting NATO's airport headquarters with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and at least one large bomb.

Two Afghan civilians were wounded and all the attackers were killed after an hours-long battle.

The U.S.-led NATO coalition's Joint Command headquarters at the airport runs the day-to-day operations of the war against insurgents. The airport's military side is also used for NATO transport and other aircraft.

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