NATO turns its focus on Afghanistan after Trump's harsh criticism day before

By Lukas Mikelionis

Published July 12, 2018

NATO leaders are spending the second day of the summit moving on from President Donald Trump’s harsh criticism on Wednesday for not meeting military spending obligations and focus instead on ending the war in Afghanistan.

Trump spent the first day of the summit to highlight the problems of over half of NATO members not meeting the goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense.

Shortly after criticism, NATO leaders promised their “unwavering commitment” to increase defense spending, signing a declaration the states they are “committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May tried to ease the tensions on Wednesday by announcing additional troops for NATO’s Afghan training mission, Reuters reported.

“We will be deploying an additional 440 personnel to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and I think that shows when NATO calls, the UK is one of the first to step up,” May told reporters.

NATO seeks to come up with a commitment to fund Afghan security forces until 2024, a plan that’s hard to sell given the reluctance of Western countries to continue being engaged in the never-ending conflict.

U.S. officials told Reuters that the White House is preparing another review of strategy in Afghanistan, just a year after Trump hesitantly extended the involvement in America’s longest war.

NATO leaders are also expected to discuss the alliance’s ties to Georgia and Ukraine, two countries that once were prospect members of the organization, but later faced aggression from Russia that effectively blocked their entry as NATO rules prohibit countries with territorial conflicts joining the alliance.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/12/nato-turns-its-focus-on-afghanistan-after-trumps-harsh-criticism-day-before.html