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The Truth about NATO Burden-Sharing

BRUSSELS – When discussing Afghanistan, many newspapers continue to suggest that some of Europe’s NATO allies are under-performing in Afghanistan, and are either unable or unwilling to make a greater effort. Naturally, these allies feel that their efforts are under-valued. What is a fair and equitable burden?

First of all, the debate about burden-sharing should not be reduced solely to today’s force levels in Afghanistan, because, however important these force levels are, they tell only part of the story. So let me broaden the debate and offer a more holistic perspective by covering three interconnected elements: defense transformation, operations, and the wider context of the international community’s efforts.