|Last update: 29-Sep-2006 15:21||NATO Update|
NATO agrees to ISAF expansion across Afghanistan
On 28 September, the North Atlantic Council gave final authorisation for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (NATO-ISAF) to expand its area of operations to 14 additional provinces in the east of Afghanistan, boosting NATO’s presence and role in the country.
The decision follows consultations with non-NATO countries that are contributing troops to the mission.
With this further expansion, NATO-ISAF will assist the Government of Afghanistan in providing security throughout the whole of the country.
“Today’s decision to expand the mission to the whole country, coupled with substantial offers to equip the Afghan army, are more examples of the progress we are making to help Afghanistan build a better future”, said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
The decision will be implemented following the issuing of an Activation Order for the transfer of authority by General James L. Jones, NATO’s top operational commander. This is expected in the next few days.
NATO will take command of 12 additional Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), bringing the total number of NATO-led PRTs to 25.
The number of troops under NATO command will increase from the current 20,000 to over 30,000.
Most of these forces are already in place in Afghanistan. They will be transferred to NATO command once the Activation Order is issued by General Jones.