Nations balk at US anti-drug Afghan plan

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says a number of NATO countries are balking at the United States' request that their troops in Afghanistan do more to confront drug lords whose money helps bankroll the Taliban.

But he told reporters that several options are on the table for further discussion, including allowing some nations who are opposed to the plan to "opt out" while not blocking others from participating.

The issue was discussed at length Thursday at a NATO meeting of defense ministers. Gates said he is hopeful a resolution may be reached, possibly as early as Friday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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