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08 January 2004

NATO Expands ISAF Peacekeeping Mission in Afghanistan

January 6 marks beginning of NATO-led ISAF duties outside Kabul

NATO has expanded responsibilities of the alliance-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, for the first time by taking command of the German-led Kunduz Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) on January 6.

PRTs are small teams of civilian and military personnel working in Afghanistan's provinces to provide security for aid workers and help with reconstruction work. There are currently six, under the command of the U.S.-led coalition forces.

"I expect that more PRTs will be placed under the mandate of ISAF in the future. ... The objective, however, will remain the same: to achieve an enduring stability by supporting the Afghan Government to extend its sovereign authority throughout the provinces," said German Lieutenant General Götz F. E. Gliemeroth, ISAF Commander.

Following is the NATO press release:

(begin text)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
http://www.nato.int
January 7, 2004

NATO EXPANDS ITS ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN

A ceremony held in Kunduz on 6 January marked the transfer of command of the Kunduz Provincial Reconstruction Team to NATO and a first step in the expansion of the Alliance's mission in the country.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are small teams of civilian and military personnel working in Afghanistan's provinces to provide security for aid workers and help with reconstruction work. There are currently six, under the command of the US-led coalition forces.

On 19 December, NATO decided to expand the role of the Alliance-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by taking on the command of the German-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunduz.

The takeover of the Kunduz PRT is a pilot project for the further expansion of ISAF, which could see NATO taking on command of more PRTs.

This is also the first time that NATO is taking on tasks outside of Kabul, as ISAF's initial mandate limited the peacekeeping force to providing security in and around the capital city.

"I expect that more PRTs will be placed under the mandate of ISAF in the future. ... The objective, however, will remain the same: to achieve an enduring stability by supporting the Afghan Government to extend its sovereign authority throughout the provinces," said German Lt Gen Götz F. E. Gliemeroth, ISAF Commander, at the handover ceremony in Kunduz.

The German-led PRT is comprised of more than 170 personnel, with plans for as many as 240 personnel on the ground as the mission develops.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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