The US, Israel, and Europe (NATO) are more and more in tandem and jointly responsible (some would say complicitous) as the 'Clash of Civilizations' expands...
NATO takes command in Kabul
KABUL, Afghanistan --NATO has taken command of peacekeeping in the Afghan capital, the alliance's first operation outside Europe since it was formed 54 years ago.
NATO took over the 5,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul on Monday from Germany and the Netherlands, who have led it since February this year.
A spokesman said the move will bring more continuity to the mission and end the rotation of commanders from a "lead nation" every six months.
About 90 percent of the troops in the 30-nation force are from NATO countries.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, German Defense Minister Peter Struck, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Gen. James L. Jones, diplomats and U.N. officials attended the handover ceremony at a school in Kabul.
Scores of armed peacekeepers, armored cars mounted with machine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs were on hand to search for any explosives.
Struck said in a speech the handover showed the world's commitment to rebuilding war-shattered Afghanistan.
"Afghanistan must not lapse back into anarchy and chaos and must not again become the home of global terror, as was the case under the rule of the Taliban," Struck said.
The peacekeeping force was created in December 2001 to bolster security in Kabul in the wake of the U.S.-led war that toppled the Taliban, which had granted haven to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
Following the September 11 attacks on America, defensive alliances such as NATO have changed their tactics to defend against terrorists in a whole host of nations.
NATO's Asia deployment is the first outside Europe since the organization was formed during the Cold War to provide a bulwark against possible attacks by the former Soviet Union, with a focus on defending its borders.
Karzai's government has called for the peacekeeping force to go beyond Kabul, particularly with elections set for June 2004, but no nation has supported that endeavor, which would require at least 10,000 more troops.
NATO's role will be to ensure stability only in Kabul. The capital is considered relatively safe in a nation ruled by rival warlords.
U.S. forces are still battling Taliban remnants who are waging an insurgency along the southern and eastern border with Pakistan.
NATO currently leads other peacekeeping forces in Kosovo and Bosnia.