NATO OKs plan to expand Afghanistan mission
Xinhua | July 29 2006
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ambassdors on Friday gave final authorization for the NATO-led mission to expand its area of operations to six additional provinces in the south of Afghanistan.
The decision follows consultations with non-NATO countries that are contributing troops to the mission.
Following the move on next Monday, the 26-nation military alliance will now assist the Afghanistan government in providing security across approximately 75 percent of Afghanistan's territory.
"This is NATO delivering on its commitment to Afghanistan," NATO Spokesman James Appathurai said in a statement.
The number of troops under NATO command will increase from the current 10,500 to approximately 18,000, nearly doubling the number of forces NATO is leading across the country.
Most of these forces are already in place in Afghanistan. They will be transferred to NATO command once the order is issued by General James L. Jones, NATO's top operational commander.
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