US urges NATO allies to do more against IS
BRUSSELS—US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday urged NATO allies to do more to help the US-led antiIslamic State coalition finish the job in Iraq and Syria and destroy the jihadi group.
NATO defence ministers earlier agreed to extend training of Iraqi troops from Jordan to Iraq itself and to consider deploying AWACS surveillance aircraft.
“I would like to see NATO do more,” Carter told reporters after ministers met at the alliance HQ in Brussels.
“I believe there is still more NATO can do to hasten the destruction of ISIL,” he said, using another name for IS.
IS seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, scattering government and rebel troops with ease, but Washington has marshalled its allies inside NATO and out to help force the jihadists back from key areas.
Most of the 28 NATO member states contribute to the anti-IS coalition individually but the alliance itself as an organisation has no direct role in the campaign.
With IS increasingly on the defensive and losing ground, Carter said NATO could make a “meaningful contribution,” helping consolidate coalition gains while government forces press on.
Asked if NATO’s offer to increase training of Iraqi officers and the possible AWACS deployment were modest compared with what others were doing, Carter insisted that was far from the case.
“There is no way that is secondary, that is very important... it is not peripheral,” he said. NATO leaders will announce a final decision on the Iraq training mission and AWACS planes at their July 8-9 summit in Warsaw.—AFP