[This Op-Ed was published in The New York Times on October 1, 2003. It is available here: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/01/opinion/don-t-forget-afghanistan.html] With our attention focused on Iraq, we run the risk of overlooking the alarming deterioration of security in Afghanistan. In both countries, the projection of American military power was decisive, but we have fallen short in demonstrating the staying power necessary to achieve stability. Today, huge portions of Afghanistan outside Kabul have been ceded to warlords. Since March, the Taliban have embarked on a campaign of murder and intimidation, targeting humanitarian workers in an attempt to set back reconstruction efforts and to discredit both the government of President Hamid Karzai and the United States-led coalition that supports him. Our troops, and those of our allies, are doing a remarkable job -- but they're not tasked with the mission of providing security for the Afghan people. The 11,000 soldiers participating in Operation Enduring Freedom are not meant to be peacekeepers. The only troops assigned to protect reconstruction projects, let alone civilians, are the provincial reconstruction teams, whose combined units number only a few hundred soldiers. With chaos growing, reconstruction efforts have slowed. Humanitarian groups have withdrawn from Kandahar and other areas because their staff members have been assassinated. And Afghanistan has once again become the world's foremost supplier of opium. The harvest of 2002 was 20 times as large as it was in the last year of Taliban rule, and drug profits last year dwarfed both the central government's budget and international reconstruction funds. That kind of money buys a lot of cooperation -- and the terrorists know it. Of President Bush's $87 billion proposal for the military protection and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, he has allocated $1.2 billion for Afghanistan -- a sum that does not even match the amount pumped into the economy by the drug trade. What's more, a third of this is recycled money: funds raided from existing accounts, like a desperately needed program for embassy construction. That leaves a mere $800 million in new money. Inadequate funding is just one way the president has failed to make good on his pledge of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan. He has also failed to provide the leadership necessary to encourage the rest of the world to join in the rebuilding effort. The best way to bring stability to Afghanistan is finally to expand the United Nations-mandated International Security Assistance Force. The force is now permitted to operate only in the capital; because of its presence there, Kabul is one of the few secure sites in Afghanistan. While President Karzai and Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, have called for an expansion of the force, the Bush administration has been slow to endorse such a move, citing the reluctance of other countries to supply troops. NATO allies must wonder why we can't take "yes" for an answer. Last month, for example, Germany approved plans to take over peacekeeping operations in the cities of Kunduz and Herat. The more countries that join in, the better. After all, every German, French or Turkish soldier deployed to bring security to the Afghan countryside potentially frees up an American soldier to hunt down Al Qaeda -- or maybe even to come home sooner. With United States support, the United Nations can expand the security force almost immediately. The money is there. Under the 2002 Afghanistan Freedom Support Act, Congress authorized $1 billion for the expansion of the security assistance force. All the administration has to do is request its appropriation. It seems a reasonable price to pay to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a failed state and a haven for terrorists.