NATO to create Afghan crisis reaction force

24th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 June 2004 , BERLIN - NATO leaders are likely to approve creation of a Afghanistan crisis reaction force and will expand regional rebuilding teams in the country, senior German officials said Thursday. The moves, due at NATO's 28-29 June summit in Istanbul, are part of gearing up security for Afghan elections due this autumn. "We will have to deploy a series of mobile NATO companies to intervene where there are difficulties," said an official speaking on the condition of anonymity. The official declined

24 June 2004

BERLIN - NATO leaders are likely to approve creation of a Afghanistan crisis reaction force and will expand regional rebuilding teams in the country, senior German officials said Thursday.

The moves, due at NATO's 28-29 June summit in Istanbul, are part of gearing up security for Afghan elections due this autumn.

"We will have to deploy a series of mobile NATO companies to intervene where there are difficulties," said an official speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The official declined to say how big such NATO reaction forces would be and admitted that given difficulties in winning fresh forces the troops would be drawn from soldiers already stationed in the country.

"It's no secret - I don't want to hide the fact that the force generation process has been very difficult in Afghanistan," said the official.

Germany has reached its limit of 2,250 troops for the NATO-led Afghan security force (ISAF) as mandated by parliament and cannot send any more, the official stressed.

There are presently about 6,500 ISAF troops in Afghanistan and about 20,000 US-led forces fighting Taliban remnants and al-Qaeda insurgents mainly in the southern parts of the country.

In another move, the NATO summit will likely approve creation of at least two more Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), the officials said.

This would raise the total number of PRTs to 14 and five of these will be stationed in the northern parts of the country and at least four are expected to come under NATO-ISAF control, said officials.

While the PRTs could bolster security for aid workers it was the Afghan army that needed to be built up to expand Kabul's power, the officials said.

"We cannot expect the PRTs to provide seamless security," an official warned.

Afghanistan is gearing up for presidential elections in the autumn but the officials noted that given the overall security situation parliamentary elections might have to be delayed.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article