- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

President Obama said Tuesday the war in Afghanistan is not an “American battle,” but one in which all allied forces must help to “dismantle and destroy” the al Qaeda network.

Mr. Obama’s comments followed an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in which they agreed that Afghanistan is their most important mission, the president said.

“It is and will always be a team effort,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “We’ll stay as long as it takes.”

The president also said they discussed such key issues as the United States changing its European missile defense policy and the possibility of more troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama said that NATO countries accept the new policy, made because of Iran’s emerging missile threat, and that the change will help improve relations with Russia.

Mr. Rasmussen said the change will bring all allies closer together.

He also said North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces will review U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s assessment of the war, which reportedly will call for as many as 40,000 additional troops, but there is no rush among NATO officials to add more soldiers.

“It’s strategy first, then resources,” he said. “It isn’t numbers first.”