ISAF boosts security ahead of Afghan parliamentary elections

Kabul (dpa) - The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is to send over two thousand extra troops to Afghanistan ahead of September's parliamentary elections, the force said Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, ISAF spokeswoman Karen Tissot van Patot, told reporters that troop numbers would increase from the current 10,000 level to over 12,000 by mid-August.

The ISAF was already stationing extra patrols in areas under its control, with 600 new patrols deployed in Kabul alone in the past week, she added.

"In recent weeks, ISAF has increased its patrols in order to increase our presence throughout Kabul. To put it simply we want more patrols on the ground to assure the Afghans that we mean to minimize any disruption to their daily lives and to thwart any attempts to derail the electoral process which is running on schedule," Patot said.

Extra troops will also be posted in western Afghanistan and in the north of the country where there were now 60 and 190 patrols respectively, she said.

"The ISAF will work together with the Afghan National Army (ANA) over the next few months to ensure security for the election," she added.

Support troops from the Netherlands and Spain have started to arrive in Afghanistan and are deploying to their areas of operation, saidd Patot.

Spanish troops are to be stationed in the western province of Herat and Dutch soldiers will be based in the northern province of Mazar-e-Sharif. Elections are scheduled for September 18. dpa km sr


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