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Updated: 06-May-2004

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

6 May 2004

  • NATO chief renews call for nations to commit more forces to ISAF
  • Japan seeking cooperation with NATO in Afghan disarmament
  • Pentagon forced to withdraw leaflet linking aid to information on Taliban


  • Georgian leader wins power struggle


  • AP reports that speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters Thursday, at a unique exhibition of anti-terrorism equipment, NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer again appealed for allied nations to commit more forces to ISAF. “NATO has been trying for months to find necessary troops to expand its peacekeeping mission, but nations have been reluctant to commit to the expensive and potentially dangerous mission,” the dispatch stresses. It adds, however, that officials said they were hopeful progress could be made at a meeting later Thursday of top allied military commanders. Istanbul’s NTV claimed meanwhile that President Bush had called Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan asking him to send troops and helicopters to Afghanistan. The program quoted sources close to the “European Allied Forces Command” saying Bush told Erdogan that Turkey should dispatch the three transport helicopters it had pledged to send to Afghanistan in December 2003 as soon as possible, and that this was of great importance. The sources reportedly added that Turkey was also asked to send at least 300 troops to Afghanistan within the framework of ISAF. The program asserted that Washington wants Turkey to send the pledged helicopters before the June NATO summit in Istanbul.

  • Japan Wednesday sought cooperation from NATO in a project to disarm former Afghan soldiers and return them to civilian life, reported Tokyo’s Kyodo World Service, May 6. According to the program, the Japanese Ambassador to Afghanistan made the request at a NATO meeting in Brussels. “Japan is participating in the project to disarm about 100,000 former Afghan soldiers but so far 6,200 of them have been disarmed. The current objective is to achieve 60 percent of the full target by the time of presidential and parliamentary elections in September, but local warlords working as military commanders are not forthcoming. Japan decided to seek NATO’s cooperation because it commands ISAF, which is planning to expand its control over rural areas. Japan is the biggest contributor to the disarmament project, funding the majority of the cost or about $35 million,” added the program. In a related development, AP reports the UN warned Thursday a plan to disarm Afghanistan’s warring militias ahead of the elections was “seriously in jeopardy” because of obstruction by powerful commanders. The dispatch recalls that the Afghan Defense Ministry adopted a plan in late March to disarm 40 percent of the country’s irregular fighters by the end of June. But, it adds, UN Special Representative Jean Arnault said in a statement the plan, which President Karzai used to drum up billions in aid pledges at a donor conference in Germany, had yet to begin.

  • According to The Guardian, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan has distributed leaflets calling on people to provide information on Al Qaeda and the Taliban or face losing humanitarian aid. The move has reportedly outraged aid organizations, who said their work is independent of the military and it was despicable to pretend otherwise. The newspaper adds that after examining the leaflets Wednesday, Britain and the United States said they had been a mistake and it was not their policy to link aid with military operations in that way. The decision to distribute the leaflets had been made at the local level, they reportedly said. The newspaper further reports the Pentagon said Wednesday it would instruct forces in the field and those on future training courses not to repeat the mistake.


  • The BBC World Service reported that Georgian President Saakashvili had arrived in the province of Adzharia to scenes of jubilation a few hours after forcing rebel leader Abashidze to resign. Abashidze ended more than a decade in power by flying with his family to Moscow after talks with Russian envoy Ivanov Wednesday night, noted the broadcast.


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