As 2006 begins, Afghanistan has some twenty-seven-thousand trained and equipped soldiers and fifty-five-thousand trained police. President George W. Bush says, "They're taking the fight to the enemy. They're working side-by-side with coalition forces to protect this new democracy":
"They're receiving a lot of international support through the NATO alliance. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has now about nine-thousand troops in the country that represent all twenty-six NATO allies and ten non-NATO nations. . . .In 2006, the force levels will increase by up to another six-thousand forces, to a total of approximately fifteen-thousand personnel."
Mr. Bush says the U.S.-led coalition's strategy in Afghanistan is "to provide stability so democracy can flourish":
"We're going to continue to conduct anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan, as well."
Afghanistan, says Mr. Bush, is making "steady progress on the road to democracy":
"[President Hamid] Karzai got elected. There's a sitting parliament. It's amazing how far Afghanistan has come from the days of the Taleban."
The Taleban, says Mr. Bush, "had no hopeful vision. They're vision was, if you don't agree with us, we'll take you in the public square and whip you. They're vision was, women don't have rights. They're vision was a dark and dim vision, which stands in stark contrast to the vision based on freedom and democracy."
Mr. Bush says that building democracy in Afghanistan and elsewhere is "an important part of our winning the war on terror."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.