NATO Council visits Afghanistan
The North Atlantic Council (NAC), headed by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and accompanied by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General James Jones, and the Chairman of the Military Committee, General Ray Henault, visited Afghanistan from Monday, 4 September to Wednesday, 6 September.
On Monday evening, the Brussels-based permanent representatives of all NATO allies were briefed by the Senior Civilian Representative of NATO in Afghanistan, Ambassador Daan W. Everts, by the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Lieutenant General David Richards, and by the commander of the U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC-A), Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry. Senior UN and EU representatives in theatre also gave briefings.
The Council was privileged also to engage General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan Minister of Defence, on the views of his government in relation to NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan.
On 5 September, the permanent representatives visited different areas of the country, in separate groups, including Provincial Reconstruction Teams and bases in Chag Charan, Kual-e-Naw, Mazar-e-Sharif, Tirin Kot, Kandahar and Camp Bastion in Helmand province. A working dinner was held in Kabul.
The Council’s visit took place one month into NATO’s expansion of its operations from the north and west of Afghanistan to the more troubled southern provinces. The southern area of operations includes six provinces – Day Kundi, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul. NATO-ISAF operates under a mandate of the United Nations and comprises forces from 37 NATO and non-NATO nations.