BUDAPEST (AFP) - Nato Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer blasted member nations Friday for failing to back a funding plan aimed at getting more sorely-needed helicopters in the air in places like Afghanistan. "I am disappointed, to say it in frank terms," he told reporters in the Hungarian capital Budapest, after informal talks among Nato defence ministers. "There are thousands of helicopters in the Nato fleet and allies should definitely not be having this kind of trouble," he said. "On the whole, much more should be done." France and Britain have set up a fund and urged their allies to pool resources so they can equip more helicopters for Nato operations, particularly to help in the evacuation of combat casualties. Scheffer acknowledged that the process is difficult for technical reasons - like the need to fit special motors to deal with heat and altitude, or protect them from dust - and a reluctance among nations to stump up funds. "The bottom line is, we need much more political will," he said. A senior US official said failure to find money for the fund could deprive Nato of 30 to 40 helicopters in Afghanistan, where the alliance is battling a Taliban-led insurgency. "Here you have an alliance that has an awful lot of helicopters ... and we know we need helicopters in Afghanistan," he said, on condition of anonymity. "We have not got enough commitment to support this initiative, so we are still suffering from insufficient helicopters in theatre where we need them." Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said he had urged Nato allies to temporarily send additional troops to Afghanistan next year to protect the 2009 presidential elections. "I suggested that we consider a temporary further increase in troops next year in connection with the elections in Afghanistan to help the Afghans provide security," Gates told reporters on board US military aircraft. "I just laid out a marker that I thought we should think about that going forward. We didn't really discuss it," he added. The presidential elections are shaping up as a key test of the viability of a struggling, seven-year-old US and Nato-led effort to build a democratically elected central government in Afghanistan. Gates said he was satisfied with the Nato debate on drug trafficking which gave the International Security Assistance Force the go ahead to attack drug labs and traffickers. "It is just going to be part of regular military operations. This is not going to be a special mission," Gates said, adding that the counter-drug effort was likely to focus on the southern part of the country. "It starts with the commander of Isaf, and then it would a question of what forces are available. Obviously the United States and the UK are interested in doing this I think several others would but didn't speak out," he said.