Eurocorps take over command in Afghanistan
9 August 2004 , KABUL - The Eurocorps commander General Jean-Louis Py on Monday officially took over the command of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan from Canadian commander General Rick Hillier. The Eurocorps comprises military contributions from its five framework nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain. The headquarters, in which soldiers from the member states and also from Austria, Canada, Finland, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom parti
9 August 2004
KABUL - The Eurocorps commander General Jean-Louis Py on Monday officially took over the command of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan from Canadian commander General Rick Hillier.
The Eurocorps comprises military contributions from its five framework nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain.
The headquarters, in which soldiers from the member states and also from Austria, Canada, Finland, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom participate, is located in Strasbourg, France.
General Hillier, commander of the 34 ISAF nations who took the commander of NATO-led ISAF in February 9, officially handed over its command to French General Py.
"Let me echo those sentiments today as the baton of the command changes from ISAF 5th to ISAF 6th. NATO together with the Afghan government, the U.N. the U.S-led coalition forces and the international community will continue to work for the future of Afghanistan, with growing confidence and trust and a clear understanding of our responsibilities," the former ISAF commander Hillier said in an address at the ceremony.
"Indeed, against an evolving situation in Afghanistan our first challenge will be to deepen our understanding of the situation and to adjust our action to best support the Afghan authorities in their undertaking to rebuild a peaceful Afghanistan," Py said.
He said in the upcoming weeks and months, supported by the international community, the ISAF 6th will be supporting the efforts of the Afghan authorities in the process of conducting a fair and democratic presidential election, which is set for October 9.
The success of the presidential election process will set the scene for ensuring a similar process for parliamentary elections, Py said. The parliamentary election will be held on April 2005.
Py added that ISAF's support will be continued not only in Kabul, but also in other nine provinces which are under the ISAF area of responsibility.
NATO's mission in Afghanistan remains a key priority and the alliance's main task is to help create the conditions under which Afghanistan can enjoy a representative government and self-sustaining peace and security, Hillier said.
"In doing so, NATO is helping to establish the conditions for a peaceful, prosperous and stable Afghanistan, secure within a broader and more stable regions; in order to do so, NATO must engage on a broad front," Hillier added.
General Hillier also paid tribute to those ISAF soldiers injured or killed during ISAF 5th.
At the conclusion, Hillier said that NATO and the international community as a whole will not leave Afghanistan until the job is done and the Afghan nation is strong enough to stand alone again as a peaceful, independent and democratic member of the international community.
Taking the command of ISAF in Afghanistan, Canada deployed about 1,800 of its soldiers in capital Kabul. So far, about 200 of them have already left Afghanistan and still Canada will keep around 700 of its soldier in Afghanistan, an ISAF spokesman said.
During its mission in Afghanistan, three Canadian soldiers lost their lives, one in a suicide-bomber ambush and two others were killed when their vehicle hit a mine.
Currently there are some 6,500 NATO-led ISAF troops deployed in Kabul that provide security to capital Kabul and its surroundings.
Jean Arnault, the U.N special envoy to Afghanistan, General Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan deputy minister for Defence and some of western ambassadors based in Kabul also attended the ceremony.
Subject: German news