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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NATO risks a split between countries that are willing to fight and those that are not because some European states refuse to send more troops to Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday.
"I worry a great deal about the alliance evolving into a two-tiered alliance in which you have some allies willing to fight and die to protect people's security and others who are not," the Pentagon chief said.
"And I think that it puts a cloud over the future of the alliance if this is to endure and perhaps even get worse," he told a congressional committee.
The United States is trying to persuade its allies to do more fighting in Afghanistan, where attacks by Taliban and al Qaeda fighters have soared in the last two years.
The Parties to this Treaty reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and their desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments.
They are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.
They are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security. They therefore agree to this North Atlantic Treaty :