Afghanistan

Afghanistan: New ISAF command

Source
Posted
Originally published
KABUL, 10 February (IRIN) - German Defence Minister Peter Struck announced on Monday that the new German-Dutch led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan had many challenges ahead. ISAF, for more than a year now, has played an important policing/security role in the capital Kabul only, despite pleas from the government and NGOs that its mandate be extended to other parts of the country.
Addressing Dutch and German troops at the command handover ceremony from Turkey, Struck said: "The environment in which you will have to work for the next six months will involve danger," adding that their mission was highly demanding.

"We have parts of Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Hikmatyar [fighters loyal to a former prime minister, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar], and that is a challenge, it is very difficult for our soldiers," the minister told IRIN in Kabul.

Turkish Gen Hakin Zurlo, who took over the ISAF command from Britain in June last year, has now handed over to his German successor, Lt-Gen Norbert Van Heyst, the force commander for the next six months.

Despite a huge car bomb explosion last year and a series of isolated rocket attacks, security in Kabul has improved since ISAF began its work. "The situation is proceeding towards normalcy in Kabul," the capital's police chief, Gen Basir Salangi, told IRIN at the handover ceremony, adding that the government and people of Afghanistan were more committed than ever to supporting efforts to bring about peace and security.

[ENDS]

IRIN-Asia
Tel: +92-51-2211451
Fax: +92-51-2292918
Email: IrinAsia@irin.org.pk

[This Item is Delivered to the "Asia-English" Service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: IRIN@ocha.unon.org or Web: http://www.irinnews.org. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial sites requires written IRIN permission.]

Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2003