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Argument: Despite difficulties, Afghanistan is a success for NATO

Issue Report: NATO expansion

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Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker. “NATO Expansion, and a Bush Legacy, Are in Doubt”. The New York Times. 12 Mar. 2008 – “Ten years ago, the idea that NATO would be running a major military operation half way around the world would have seemed preposterous. Even five years ago, just after the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban, I can still remember officials in many allied countries questioning whether the Alliance should take on such a challenging task so far beyond its original mission. Today that theoretical debate about missions is over – every one of NATO’s 26 members not only supports but has forces in Afghanistan. NATO has 42,000 troops in country, 28,000 of which are from countries other than the United States. NATO’s mission began in 2003 with the provision of a single headquarters in Kabul alone, when no single country was willing to take on that task and it has gradually expanded to the north, west, south and east so that it now covers all of Afghanistan. Despite the perception that European allies are losing faith in the mission – indeed a serious concern – it is none the less the case that there are 5,000 more non-U.S. troops in Afghanistan this year than there were last year, and there are decent prospects that more European (likely French and British) troops will be pledged at the Bucharest summit and deployed later this spring.”