RealNews

NATO ministers agree to expand security force operations in Afghanistan

NATO defence ministers agreed Thursday on a major expansion of the alliance’s peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, a key step in a plan to eventually extend NATO’s mission across the entire country by 2006. Agreement came after Italy, Spain and Lithuania ended months of delay by committing hundreds of troops to support U.S. forces under NATO command, said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. “We have the resources. We need to expand,” he told a news conference. “The extended International Security Assistance Force mission will provide security assistance in 50 per cent of Afghanistan’s territory.” De Hoop Scheffer said the expansion of ISAF into four western provinces “underscores NATO’s long-term commitment to helping Afghanistan build a stable, prosperous and democratic future.” Full Story

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