At a ceremony in Kabul, the U.S.-led coalition transferred security duties in Afghanistan to NATO's International Security Assistance Force. Some twelve-thousand U.S. troops already in Afghanistan have been incorporated into that force, which now includes thirty-three-thousand troops from thirty-seven countries.
The NATO forces in Afghanistan are commanded by David Richards, a British army general. General Richards says the change "illustrates the enduring commitment of NATO and its international partners to the future" of Afghanistan.
U.S. Marine Corps General James Jones serves as NATO's overall military commander. He says that NATO will cooperate with Afghanistan's new army and police force:
"Is everything going great? No. But is there going to be a military defeat? No. So, the battle is over hearts and minds and whether you can, with thirty-seven countries working together, can bring the changes that are required to jump-start that society. . . .Eventually it'll be a success. It just depends how much time we want to spend doing it."
General Jones says that the Afghan government must show the Afghan people that it can help them create a better life:
"There is a requirement to do more, and to bring more focus, more clarity, more purpose and more results in a shorter period of time."
In 2003, by deploying in Afghanistan, NATO began its first mission outside the Euro-Atlantic region. President George W. Bush says, "The enemies of a free Afghanistan are brutal and they're determined – and we're not going to let them succeed." Mr. Bush says, "NATO, the coalition, and Afghan forces will continue to fight the enemy."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.