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NATO Security Teams Complete Expansion to Western Afghanistan

15 September 2005

Alliance providing security, helping reconstruction efforts beyond Kabul

NATO has expanded the alliance’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to western Afghanistan and is providing security and helping reconstruction efforts in that part of the country.

Since the ousting of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the multinational ISAF has been assisting the new Afghan government -- under a U.N. mandate -- to provide a stable and secure environment for reconstruction and free elections.  NATO, in its first mission outside the alliance’s traditional area of responsibility, took command of ISAF in August 2003. (See related article.)

The ISAF expansion increases NATO’s security-assistance responsibilities from the confines of the capital, Kabul, and the northern part of Afghanistan into territory encompassing as much as half of the country.

Preparations continue for a further expansion of the ISAF to the south of the country.

For additional information, see Rebuilding Afghanistan.

Following is the NATO press release:

(begin text)

NATO Press Release
http://www.nato.int
September 14, 2005

NATO COMPLETES EXPANSION TO WEST OF AFGHANISTAN

All four NATO-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams in the West of Afghanistan have now reached full operational capability, completing the expansion of NATO’s presence to the West of the country.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are small teams of civilian and military personnel working in Afghanistan's provinces to provide security, help reconstruction work, and extend the Government’s authority beyond Kabul.

Spreading stability

The Alliance is now leading nine PRTs in the North and West of Afghanistan, providing security assistance in about 50% of the country’s territory.

Preparations continue for a further expansion of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to the South of the country.

Since December 2003 NATO has been gradually increasing its presence in Afghanistan by establishing PRTs, first in the North and now in the West of the country.

The expansion to the West began on 31 May this year.

(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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