Powell pledges Afghan peace force
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- United States Secretary of State Colin Powell says an international peacekeeping force will be sent into Afghanistan, although "the mix and the leadership" has yet to be determined.
Powell told a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels that the new interim post-Taliban government formed on Wednesday had requested the presence of international peacekeepers.
"There will be no shortage of troops," Powell said.
He said it would be just a matter of time until the last remnants of Taliban control ended.
"Now, more than ever, NATO matters," he added.
In a declaration on the first day of their two-day meeting, the alliance issued a statement condemning terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations."
"We, the 19 NATO allies, are determined to combat this scourge. Our security requires no less," the statement said.
Immediately after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the alliance invoked Article 5 of its founding treaty, which says that an attack on one member nation must be treated as an attack on all.
"Accordingly, we have decided to support, individually and collectively, the ongoing U.S.-led military operations against the terrorists who perpetrated the 11 September outrages and those who provide them sanctuary," the statement said.
It reasserted that the fight was not against Islam or the innocent people of Afghanistan.
"We reiterate our determination to combat the threat of terrorism for as long as necessary," the statement said.
"In keeping with our obligations under the Washington Treaty, we will continue to strengthen our national and collective capacities to protect our populations, territory and forces from armed attack, including terrorist attack, directed from abroad."
The foreign ministers praise the "substantial and significant" cooperation of Russia in the campaign against terrorism.
"This cooperation illustrates the new quality in NATO-Russia relations," the statement said.
"We look forward to building on this cooperation and deepening NATO-Russia relations to meet the new challenges faced by the entire Euro-Atlantic community."
The allies stressed that military tools alone were not enough and that the response must be "multifaceted and comprehensive," stressing deeper cooperation with the European Union.
Alliance officials said NATO would develop a series of anti-terrorism measures including enhanced intelligence gathering and sharing and closer monitoring of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
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