NATO chief blasts European reluctance to send more troops to Afghanistan

NATO's secretary-general on Saturday blasted Europe's reluctance to respond to American calls for more troops in Afghanistan, saying countries like Germany and France needed to "share the heavy lifting." Jaap de Hoop Scheffer pointed to a joint call this week from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy to strengthen Europe's role in NATO, saying it was a good idea but would not come without cost. "A two-way street must also apply to the rebalancing of the relationship between the United States of America and Europe," he told a gathering of world leaders and top ministers at the Munich Security Conference. "I'm frankly concerned when I hear the United States is planning a major commitment for Afghanistan but other allies are already ruling out doing more," he said. "That is not good for the political balance ... and it also makes the calls for Europe's' voice to be heard in Washington perhaps a bit more hollow than they should be."