RealNews

NATO members agree on larger role in aiding Afghanistan

NATO defense ministers agreed on Friday to take specific steps to strengthen the alliance’s reconstruction role in Afghanistan with an eye toward eventually taking over most of the security and rebuilding tasks in the country. The decision came during a closed, three-hour meeting in Munich, where Britain, Italy, Turkey and Norway made a commitment to the plan. They will lead four of five new NATO teams of soldiers and civilians who will fan out beyond Kabul to assist local authorities with security and rebuilding, a senior U.S. official said. The Netherlands, Romania and Lithuania also indicated interest in contributing forces to the new teams, the official said. The United States, Britain, New Zealand and Germany are operating eight provincial-reconstruction teams, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top U.S. officials have been pressing to create as many as 10 more before Afghanistan holds national and regional elections this summer. Full Story

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