US rejects Austrian criticism over Afghanistan

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2009 11:41 AM

The U.S. ambassador is rejecting Austrian suggestions that Washington has pushed too aggressively for more Austrian troops in Afghanistan.

William C. Eacho III is responding to comments last week by Defense Minister Norbert Darabos, who told the daily Der Standard the U.S. had exerted "improper" pressure on Austria.

Eacho, in a letter published in the paper Monday, said it is "in no way improper" for an ambassador to "defend the interests and policies of his or her country."

Darabos told the German-language daily Friday that "pressure from the Americans is relatively strong," adding: "Sometimes it is a little improper."

Austria has three soldiers with the NATO-led Afghanistan force, all in Kabul.