|Last update: 01-Jul-2004 15:13||NATO Update|
NATO expands presence in Afghanistan
NATO will take on command of four new provincial reconstruction teams and deploy extra troops to support the upcoming elections, the Alliance announced at the Istanbul Summit.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will establish provincial reconstruction teams in Mazar-e-Sharif, Meymana, Feyzabad and Baghlan.
Extending security beyond Kabul
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are teams of international civilian and military personnel working in Afghanistan’s province to extend the authority of the Afghan central government and to facilitate development and reconstruction.
Until now the NATO-led ISAF has been providing security in around the capital city Kabul and commanded one PRT in Kunduz.
Together with a logistics support base near Mazar-e-Sharif and temporary ‘satellite’ presences in Sar-e-Pol, Samangan and Sherberghan, ISAF will now be able to influence security in nine provinces in the north of the country.
ISAF's new area of operations will cover some 3,600 square kilometres in and around Kabul and approximately 185,000 square kilometres in the North.
The Alliance is also in the process of filling the requirements for the expansion of ISAF to the West, with a view to establishing new PRTs, as well as to incorporate existing PRTs, currently under the command of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom.
Support for elections
Heads of State and Government also made commitments to deploy extra NATO forces at the time of the upcoming elections in order to support the process.
Each ISAF-led PRT will be temporarily reinforced by an additional infantry company (about 100 extra troops). In addition, NATO will deploy a quick reaction force of up to 1,000 troops. Further troops will be put on high readiness to move into theatre if required.