About the Author: Ivo Daalder serves as U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
It was an extraordinary scene, today, in the NATO Council chambers. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, newly confirmed by a unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate just 36 hours earlier, was introduced by Secretary of Defense Gates to his 41 NATO and non-NATO colleagues who provide forces and military capabilities to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. Gen. McChrystal thanked the nations for the honor of leading their young men and women in bringing security and stability to Afghanistan. He will travel to Afghanistan on Saturday and immediately take up command of ISAF operations.
Afghanistan dominated the proceedings of the Defense Ministerial. The NATO Ministers agree to stand up a robust training mission for Afghan Army and Police forces. They also agreed in principle to restructure the command of ISAF to better address the implementation of President Obama’s new strategy, which NATO endorsed at the 60th Anniversary Summit.
The challenges in Afghanistan remain great – ensuring successful elections, enhancing Afghanistan’s governing and security capacity, defeating the insurgency. But NATO remains united in trying meet these challenges in the months and years ahead.