The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
NATO defense ministers announced that the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan will move into the western part of the country. The mission will be to provide security and help extend the authority of the central government.
Troop commitments to the new mission are expected from Italy, Spain, and Lithuania. The U.S. also has forces in the area. The extended force will increase security for a greater number of Afghanistan's people. As NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, "Let there be no doubt, NATO is committed to Afghanistan for the long term. And our support will continue to grow."
Elsewhere, with the completion of elections in Iraq, additional NATO members have agreed to help train Iraqi security forces, said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
"I can say with gratitude to colleagues around the table that there were a number of countries that immediately agreed to contribute, and a number of others said that they would intend to contribute because everyone understands the importance of training the Iraqi security forces so that the Iraqis are capable of taking on their own security tasks, something they're not capable of doing."
The goal is for each of the twenty-six NATO members to contribute in one way or another to the training program.
Secretary of State Rice said it is important for free countries to stand with Afghanistan and Iraq. Each member of NATO has an interest in helping democracy expand around the globe.