ISAF has a peace-enforcement mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Nine UN Security Council Resolutions – 1386, 1413, 1444, 1510, 1563, 1623, 1707, 1776 and 1833 – relate to ISAF.
However, ISAF is not a UN force. It is a coaliton of the willing deployed under the authority of the UN Security Council. 40 nations throughout the world currently contribute to ISAF.
The NATO mission itself was created in accordance with the Bonn Conference of December 2001 and its tasks are detailed in a Military Technical Agreement of January 2002 between the ISAF Commander and the Afghan Transitional Authority.
In August 2003, upon request of the UN and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, NATO took command of ISAF.
What does it mean in practice?
In addition to the overall task of assisting the Afghan government in extending its authority and creating a secure environment, in concrete terms, ISAF aims at:
- conducting stability and security operations in coordination with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF);
- assisting in the development of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and structures, including training the new Afghan National Army (ANA) and National Police (ANP);
- identify reconstruction needs, such as the rehabilitation of schools and medical facilities, restoring water supplies and providing support for other civil-military projects;
- support the Afghan government to Disarm Illegally Armed Groups (DIAG);
- provide support to the Afghan government and internationally-sanctioned counter-narcotics efforts through intelligence-sharing and the conduct of an efficient public information campaign, as well as support to the Afghan National Army Forces conducting counter-narcotics operations. ISAF, however, is not directly involved in the poppy eradication or destruction of processing facilities, or in taking military action against narcotic producers; and
- support humanitarian assistance operations