U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is calling
for a strong and united NATO to fight terrorist threats coming from Pakistan and
Afghanistan. Biden spoke at the Brussels headquarters of the Atlantic alliance,
telling NATO members he is in Brussels to listen and to consult - particularly
about how to keep Afghanistan and Pakistan from becoming havens for terrorists.
The United States is putting new focus on Afghanistan, adding more troops and looking for greater European support to counter the Taliban insurgency.
Biden said it is critical the Atlantic alliance forge a common strategy to a common threat.
"The United States believes we share a vital security interest in meeting that challenge; each of our countries has a vital interest from the point of view of the United States in meeting that challenge," he said. " The deteriorating situation in the region poses a security threat not just in the United States, but to every single nation around this table."
Mr. Biden said the United States and Europe have already faced the consequences of the growing Islamist insurgency in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan.
"It was from that remote area of the world that al-Qaida plotted 9/11. It was from that same area that extremists planned virtually every major terrorist attack in Europe since 9/11, including the attacks on London and Madrid," the vice president said.
Biden said Washington is interested in a strong and coherent NATO. He says without that the alliance will be unable to face the threats of the 21st century.
This theme is likely to be taken up again next month, when European and U.S. leaders meet for a summit in France and Germany to mark NATO's 60th anniversary. It also marks President Barack Obama's first trip to Europe since taking office in January.