Updated: 14-Oct-2003 April 2003

16 April 2003


Same name, same banner, same mission
as NATO enhances ISAF role

NATO decided on 16 April 2003 to enhance its support to ISAF, the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, by taking on the command, coordination and planning of the operation.

The Alliance already plays a significant role in support of ISAF, with NATO member countries providing 95% of the troops involved.

At the request of Germany, the Netherlands and Canada - leading ISAF countries - the North Atlantic Council decided to provide additional NATO support, which will consist of:

  • an in-theatre headquarters to command and coordinate the operation;
  • a force commander, to be selected by NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe from among the Allied nations providing troops to ISAF;
  • strategic coordination, command and control, which will be exercised by the Supreme Allied Headquarters Powers Europe (SHAPE);
  • creation of an ISAF co-ordination cell;
  • political direction and coordination by the North Atlantic Council.

Neither ISAF’s name nor mission will change. The operation will continue to operate under the United Nations mandate and the ISAF banner, and the Alliance will continue to welcome non-NATO contributors.

“The enhanced NATO role will overcome the growing problem of a continual search every six months to find new nations to lead the mission,” said NATO Spokesman Yves Brodeur, “This not only puts a considerable strain on the lead nations, but means every six months a new headquarters has to get to grips with a complex situation.”

NATO’s military authorities have now been ordered to plan the operation, to begin as soon as possible.

Additional information: