More than twenty-one-thousand U.S. troops and some twenty-thousand others from forty countries are now deployed in Afghanistan. In 2003, by deploying in Afghanistan, NATO began its first mission outside the Euro-Atlantic region.
NATO is now taking control of security operations in all of Afghanistan. President George W. Bush says that by its presence in Afghanistan, NATO is sending "a clear message to the Afghan people":
"NATO is standing with you. I appreciate the courage of the NATO forces. I appreciate the governments of our allies in NATO understanding the importance of helping the Afghan people achieve their dream, and that is a stable country. The people from NATO must understand that they're helping a young democracy defend itself and protect its people. And in so doing, they're helping to lay the foundation of peace in the ideological struggle of the twenty-first century."
Afghans are doing their share. The new Afghan national army has more than thirty-thousand soldiers. President George W. Bush says "they are on the front lines with coalition troops":
"Some have suffered terrible wounds in battle. Others have given their lives in the fight against terrorists. Afghans in uniform are determined to protect their nation and fight our common enemies – and we're proud to fight alongside such brave allies."
The coalition has also trained some forty-six-thousand members of the Afghan national police. "The enemies of a free Afghanistan are brutal and they're determined – and we're not going to let them succeed," says Mr. Bush. He says, "NATO, the coalition, and Afghan forces will continue to fight the enemy. We will stay on the offense, and we're going to help the government of President [Hamid] Karzai bring a better life to his people."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.