NATO to complete deployment of election support forces to Afghanistan

  • 31 Aug. 2005 -
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  • Press Release (2005) 099
  • Issued on 25 Aug. 2005
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  • Last updated: 07 Dec. 2010 16:23

On 31 August the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force will complete the deployment of additional forces in support of the National Assembly and Provincial Council Elections in Afghanistan. The elections are scheduled for 18 September 2005.

The Election Support Forces will assist Afghanistan’s Police and Army in providing area security for the elections by conducting operations both on the ground and in the air. They will also stand prepared to assist the Government forces in responding to unforeseen situations in order to enable an environment conducive to the successful conduct of National Assembly and Provincial Council Elections.

“The deployment of additional forces to Afghanistan underscores the Alliance’s continuing commitment to support the Afghan Government and its people along the path to a stable and democratic future”, said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

As during the Presidential elections, the primary responsibility for organising and carrying out the vote, as well as counting procedures rests with the joint Afghan Government and United Nations staffed Joint Election Management Body (JEMB).

While ISAF will assist, the Afghan authorities will retain primary responsibility for security throughout the election process.

The primary role of ISAF’s Election Support Forces will be to prevent, improve or respond to a critical situation in the ISAF area of operations. This includes Kabul, the northern and western Provinces in Afghanistan. The Election Support Forces are prepared to conduct a full range of operations including Quick Reaction Force duties and routine Peace Support Operations.

These elections mark the second round of post-war democratic elections following the election of President Hamid Karzai in October 2004.

Around two thousand additional ISAF troops from 10 nations are being deployed as Election Support Forces bringing the total number of ISAF forces over 11.000.

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United States of America are contributing extra forces to ISAF to form the Election Support Forces.

The extra forces will be split into Land and Air components, with a reserve maintained outside the country, to give ISAF maximum flexibility in its support to the elections.

By supporting the National Assembly and Provincial Council Elections in September, NATO nations are one more time showing their commitment to the stabilisation of Afghanistan and a unique resolve to assist the Afghan authorities.

“Afghanistan is a top priority for NATO. Our own security is closely linked to the future of Afghanistan as a stable and secure country, where citizens can rebuild their lives after decades of war. The Alliance is determined to make this mission a success and we will remain in Afghanistan as long as necessary”, stressed NATO Secretary General.

With the expansion to the western area of Afghanistan this summer, ISAF now assists the Afghan authorities in providing security for nearly half of the country. Work is also already underway within NATO on ISAF’s further expansion to the south next year.

Since NATO took over the ISAF operation over two years ago, the security situation in Afghanistan has improved and much has been achieved on the path towards democracy. NATO is proud to have facilitated this progress. Further progress will require a sustained and well co-ordinated commitment on the part of the international community. The NATO Alliance will continue to play its part in that effort.

Election Support Forces Land Component:

Austria is deploying a company of infantry to operate in support of the Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunduz, where Germany already mans a PRT.

Italy will assign 2 companies of infantry, one to the Province of Herat and the Italian PRT, the other to augment Chaghcharan’s Lithuanian PRT.

The Netherlands will deploy the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, sending its 3 infantry companies, engineers and support troops to Mazar-e-Sharif, in support of the Northern Region Area Command.

Romania’s 26th Infantry Battalion, “the Red Scorpions” will deploy with 3 companies, engineer and support troops. The Battalion will be based in Kabul, forming the Election Response Force, which can be deployed quickly to where they are needed throughout ISAF’s Area of Operations.

Spain’s Airmobile “San Quintin” Battalion is committing its 3 infantry companies to Herat, in support of the Western Region Area Command, where Spanish soldiers already form part of the PRT in that Province.

The United States of America will commit a company of infantry to augment the ESF reserve forces in Kabul.

Election Support Forces Air Component:

Belgium has agreed to extend the tour of its Hercules C-130, based in Kabul, to help cover the requirements of the election period.

France has deployed 6 mirage fighter jets, to be based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan which will operate throughout Afghanistan in support of Election security. France is also providing 2 refuelling aircraft to the force, based out of Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, and ensuring effective liaison with air operations staff in Kabul.

Germany is basing 2 CH-53 support helicopters in Termes to augment support to the Northern Region Area Command.

Italy is deploying 3 Chinook CH-47 support helicopters based in Herat in support of operations in the Western Region.

The Netherlands will commit 1 Chinook CH-47 support helicopter for med-evac purposes based out of Mazar-e-Sharif and have agreed to dedicate sorties of its C-130 Hercules based in Kabul for election support.

Sweden has already committed 1 Hercules C-130, based in Termez, for ISAF’s inter-theatre airlift support.