The LA times published Gates eyebrow raising critical remarks on it’s allies in Afghanistan. I can tell you this has not fallen well.

WASHINGTON — In an unusual public criticism, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he believes NATO forces currently deployed in southern Afghanistan do not know how to combat a guerrilla insurgency, a deficiency that could be contributing to the rising violence in the fight against the Taliban.

“I’m worried we’re deploying [military advisors] that are not properly trained and I’m worried we have some military forces that don’t know how to do counterinsurgency operations,” Gates said in an interview.

(…) In the interview, Gates compared the troubled experience of the NATO forces in the south — primarily troops from the closest U.S. allies, Britain and Canada, as well as the Netherlands — with progress made by American troops in the eastern part of Afghanistan. He traced the failing in part to a Cold War orientation.

“Most of the European forces, NATO forces, are not trained in counterinsurgency; they were trained for the Fulda Gap,” Gates said, referring to the German region where a Soviet invasion of Western Europe was deemed most likely.

Yeah right. Luckily the US administration is the shining example on how to fight insurgency. Questions were asked, the ambassador was summoned over. Rough translation by me from nrc.

(…) Van Middelkoop [y-t: defense minister] had Arnall [y-t: US ambassador here] summoned over because Gates was quoted in the Los Angeles Times that the NATO forces in southern Afghanistan do not know how they should counter guerrilla insurgency. In the south mainly Dutch, British and Canadian soldiers are active.

These statements also rubbed The Hague politicians the wrong way. Hans van Baalen called the transcripts downright “insulting”, Martijn van Dam found it remarkable that Americans who continuously make the wrong decisions in the “war against terror” criticize their allies.

Arnall made a statement stating Gates was misrepresented by the LA times and was “bewildered” when he read the newspaper.


Added: The LA times maintains that Gates was NOT cited incorrectly.

Added: While defense minister (what in the US is called secretary) Van Middelkoop called the case closed after Arnall’s statement. parliament does not (roar, roar), especially after a spokesman of Gates did not confirm the “misrepresentation” explanation. Some expect the transcript of the interview to be released soon. To be continued.

Added: (ANP)

Washington, Jan. 17. American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates praised NATO allies in Afghanistan, a day after media cited him with critical statements about their efforts.

Against journalists he expressed his praise for the “courage and sacrifices” of partners such as Great Britain, Canada, Netherlands, Australia and Denmark.

I’ll spare you the political comments.

Added: Gates called Van Middelkoop and apologized for the confusion.