Updated: 10-Jun-2005 NATO Update

9 June 2005
Alliance to deploy extra troops for Afghan elections
Defence Ministers Meeting
9-10 June 2005
NATO in Afghanistan

NATO Ministers of Defence have reiterated their commitment to Afghanistan, saying the Alliance will continue to expand its presence in the country and assist in providing security for the upcoming elections.

Speaking after a meeting of the Ministers in Brussels on 9 June, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the current expansion of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the West of Afghanistan is on track.

Once this phase is completed this July, NATO will be providing security assistance in about 50% of Afghanistan’s territory.

“Clear commitment”

In addition, the Ministers have demonstrated a clear commitment to further expand ISAF, to the South of the country, with a number of countries already pledging resources for the expansion.

The Secretary General also said that NATO would assist in providing security for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections this September. The Alliance will deploy an additional three battalions, a quick reaction force, and an ‘over-the-horizon’ force to boost its presence on the ground.

This will be similar to the support that NATO successfully provided to the historic presidential poll in October 2004.

The Ministers also discussed long-term support to Afghanistan after the elections, including in the fight against narcotics.