The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, will increase the number of troops in Afghanistan from some nine-thousand-seven-hundred to more than fifteen-thousand.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force is expanding its area of operation to southern Afghanistan, where insurgents are most active. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says no one should doubt "NATO's resolve nor doubt our capability to carry out the mission":
"We're working together with the Afghan national army. We are doubling the number of troops. We are helping the Afghan government to establish itself in what has been until now a space which was relatively ungoverned and we'll stay the course."
Afghanistan's Defense Minister Rahim Wardak welcomes the assistance provided by NATO:
"As far as the Afghan people and government is [are] concerned, they will try to take maximum advantage of this environment of international cooperation. I have experienced the times, which we were totally left isolated. So it is our moral duty to exploit the attention we are getting from NATO and the rest of the international community for the good of our people in the future."
The NATO effort comes as Taleban insurgents and their al-Qaida associates are stepping up their attacks. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says the U.S. has about twenty-thousand troops in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people meet this threat:
"The number [of U.S. troops deployed] will vary depending on the situation and the season. For example, this is now the season when the Taleban get more active as the weather improves, and then it will die down again. But I'd leave it to the commanders in the field to figure out what they think they need. We move troops in and out depending on the situation."
President George W. Bush says the U.S. and its allies "remain on the offensive in Afghanistan, where a fine president and national assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.