By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
June 4, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asked for help in training Afghanistan's security forces from five Asian partners during meetings today at the "Shangri-La Dialogue" security summit here.
After meeting with his counterparts from Indonesia, New Zealand, Vietnam and South Korea and with India's national security advisor, Gates told reporters that in addition to discussing bilateral issues, he asked all of them for help in Afghanistan.
"Clearly, a critical element of our ability to eventually begin the transition out of Afghanistan is having Afghan police and an Afghan National Army that are able to take the burden of security," Gates said. "There's still a shortfall of several hundred trainers."
The secretary noted that help from Indonesia in the Afghan training effort would be of particularly symbolic importance, as the world's largest Islamic democracy would be helping another Islamic country.
The secretary said he didn't receive any commitments today, "but everybody understands the importance of this, and I will continue going around with my hand out."