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NATO Nations Commit to Afghan Security at Bucharest Summit

Leaders from NATO countries traveled to Romania early this month for the alliance’s the annual summit. The mission in Afghanistan was on the top of the agenda, with several new commitments announced and a major recommitment to Afghanistan’s security by the attendant nations. The allied nations reiterated on April 3 their "firm and shared long-term commitment" to Afghanistan and pledged to aid a transition to Afghan forces by boosting their training.

President Hamid Karzai attended the summit, where he proposed an expansion of the Afghan Army above the current ceiling of 86,000. President Karzai also announced that Afghan troops will take over security responsibilities in Kabul this summer. "Today's meeting was yet again another affirmation of that will and backing by the international community of the Afghan people," said the President. "And in this context it is the responsibility now also of the Afghan people, of their government, to fulfill in full the commitments that we have made to ourselves and also to our partners in the international community."

In an effort to demonstrate the U.S.’ long-term commitment to Afghanistan, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would increase its number of troops in the country.  "Our alliance must maintain its resolve and finish the fight in Afghanistan," he said. "Just two weeks ago, Osama bin Laden issued an audio recording in which he threatened Europe with new attacks. We need to take the words of the enemy seriously. The terrorist threat is real, it is deadly, and defeating this enemy must be the top priority of the NATO Alliance."

During the summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France would deploy an additional battalion to Afghanistan consisting of about 700 to 800 troops. Poland, Romania, Spain and Britain also pledged to boost their troop levels.

"We will provide the training teams and help provide the equipment needed to meet the goal of an effective 80,000-strong Afghan army by 2010," pledged the NATO countries in a statement composed at a summit.

The read the statement in full, CLICK HERE

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