The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

SLUG: 2-291467 Congress / Afghanistan (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=6/26/02

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=CONGRESS / AFGHANISTAN (L ONLY)

NUMBER=2-291467

BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE

DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: A senior U-S Defense official is leaving open the possibility that the United States could endorse expansion of the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz discussed the issue before a Congressional panel Wednesday. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill.

TEXT: The peacekeeping mission, known as the International Security Assistance Force or ISAF is currently guarding the Afghan capital, Kabul.

But some U-S lawmakers would like to see the force expand to other parts of the country to enhance security.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, notes that Afghan leader Hamid Karzai and Kofi Annan have called for expansion of the U-N-mandated force.

Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the panel, also addressed the issue at a hearing on Afghanistan:

/// LUGAR ACTUALITY ///

I continue to be concerned that the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, may not be up to the task of ensuring the requisite amount of security for Afghan reconstruction to continue. The ability of ISAF to maintain peace and security and protect power into farthest reaches of Afghanistan is vitally important if the international community is to assist (Afghan leader Hamid) Karzai in enforcing the rule of law and defending the threat posed by extremist war lords and terrorists. Only then can we replace Afghanistan's despair with the genuine future of hope.

/// END ACT ///

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz suggested to the committee that the United States could consider backing a larger peacekeeping mission.

/// WOLFOWITZ ACTUALITY ///

No one is saying that we are opposed to expanding ISAF.

/// END ACT ///

Turkey took over command of the peacekeeping force from the British last week.

Mr. Wolfowitz said when Turkey agreed to take command of the mission, it expressed 'extreme reluctance' - as he put it - to take on missions beyond Kabul. He suggested that the many challenges facing the Afghan government may be a reason why.

/// WOLFOWITZ ACTUALITY ///

It is important to remember the magnitude of the problems that this new government has inherited, and the sheer size and unruliness of the country.

/// END ACT ///

Europeans make up most of the 45-hundred-member force. U-S troops, by contrast, have been focused on rooting out any remaining members of the al-Qaida terrorist network or deposed Taleban regime from the country.

/// REST OPT ///

Mr. Wolfowitz also updated the committee on progress in capturing suspected al-Qaida terrorists.

/// WOLFOWITZ ACTUALITY ///

In Afghanistan itself, through actions there, somewhat less than half of the top 30 or so leaders of the al-Qaida organization have been killed or captured. Well over 500 enemy are currently detained (at U-S facilities) in Guantanamo (Cuba) or in Afghanistan as a direct result of our actions in that country.

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Wolfowitz said the efforts of U-S law enforcement and intelligence agencies, in cooperation with those of dozens of other countries, have resulted in the arrests of some 24-hundred suspected terrorists worldwide. (signed)

NEB/DAT/RH



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list