The mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan is seen by many as a test of the alliance's political will and military capabilities. Since the Washington Summit in 1999, the allies have sought to create a new NATO, capable of operating beyond the European theater to combat emerging threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of WMD. Afghanistan is NATO's first out-of-area mission beyond Europe. Its purpose is the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan. The mission has proven difficult because it must take place while combat operations against Taliban insurgents continue. Recent assessments of the situation in Afghanistan point to a rise in the overall level of violence due to increased Taliban military operations and an increase in terrorist activities. U.N. Security Council resolutions govern NATO's responsibilities in Afghanistan. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) faces formidable obstacles: shoring up a weak government in Kabul; using military capabilities in a distant country with rugged terrain; and rebuilding a country devastated by war and troubled by a resilient narcotics trade. NATO's mission statement lays out the essential elements of the task of stabilizing and rebuilding the country: train the Afghan army, police, and judiciary; support the government in counternarcotics efforts; develop a market infrastructure; and suppress the Taliban. Since 2001, ISAF has proceeded in four stages to extend its area of responsibility over the whole of Afghanistan. Although the allies agree on ISAF's mission, they differ on how to accomplish it. The Obama Administration has made the conflict a policy priority. On March 27, 2009 President Obama announced a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and at the April 3-4 NATO summit successfully gained allied unity for the new strategy. The President also has committed an additional 17,000 U.S. military forces to address the conflict.