More NATO in Afghanistan

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Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

NATO's recent announcement that it plans to expand its peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan beyond Kabul may not send terrorists running for foxholes, but it does mean that more schools, hospitals and roads will probably be built and more conflict deterred. Although the decision doesn't represent a radical increase in the alliance's involvement, it does demonstrate that the alliance's tactical thinking is sound on Afghanistan and that moderate resources are being wisely used.

The NATO decision on Afghanistan, announced last week at the alliance's meeting in Colorado Springs, would entail limited peacekeeping deployments outside of Kabul and the creation of new provincial reconstruction teams, which give military cover to aid and other workers on infrastructure projects. The NATO agreement still has to be approved by the U.N. Security Council, but U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, currently the council's president, said he expected the council to approve a NATO resolution this month. The NATO mission will be kept separate from U.S.-led terrorist-hunting efforts in southern and eastern Afghanistan. Germany's cabinet agreed recently to sending up to 450 soldiers to Kunduz province. …