NATO defense ministers have agreed to expand the alliance's mission in Afghanistan next year, but are resisting calls to take on possible combat duties.
The ministers agreed afer two days of talks in Berlin Wednesday that British, Canadian, and Dutch troops would expand into southern regions of Afghanistan currently patrolled by U.S. forces. One NATO diplomat said the soldiers are already preparing for what will be more dangerous territory. But German, British, and French officials have rejected U.S. Defense Security Donald Rumsfeld's call for NATO help with counter-terrorism missions against al-Qaida and Taleban remnants.
European officials say they want NATO and U.S. forces to remain under separate command. Also Wednesday, Secretary Rumsfeld said the American people are grateful for the emergency aid from NATO and Europe for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.