Sgt. Tony Michlethwaite, 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment of the British Territorial Army, conducts a foot patrol for an International Security Assistance Force mission, Sept. 14, 2008. The British army is one of 48 militaries in the coalition working to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Laura Smith)
KABUL, Afghanistan (Oct. 28, 2010) — The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a 48-nation coalition, continues to be an integral part of the international community’s comprehensive approach to Afghanistan and its efforts to bring a lasting peace and stability back to the country.
ISAF is considered a key component to the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan, assisting the Afghan authorities in providing security and stability, to create the conditions for reconstruction and development.
By supporting resolutions made by the United Nations Security Council, ISAF assists the Afghan government in the establishment of a secure and stable environment. ISAF personnel, together with the Afghan National Security Forces, conduct security and stability operations throughout the country. ISAF units such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Training Mission Afghanistan are directly involved in the training and development of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police.
ISAF conducts operations such as security at the Kabul International Airport as well as providing protection and security for numerous reconstruction projects throughout Afghanistan. ISAF troops have also taken an active role in the eradication of heroin and drug trafficking that has enabled the Taliban for years if not decades. A large and increasing proportion of these operations are conducted in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces.
A main goal of ISAF is the transition of security responsibility to Afghan authorities. The NATO Training Mission Afghanistan plays a central role in this process. Their efforts to train and equip Afghan National Security Forces will enable the Afghans to take an increased role for their own security with NATO in a supporting role.
ISAF troop contributing nations recently have deployed operational as well as police mentoring and liaison teams. These teams are embedded in the Afghan army and national police units to support training and deploy on operations in an advisory role.
In addition to training and mentoring Afghan forces, ISAF coalition nations have provided donations to equip the Afghan security forces. Equipment donations include individual equipment such as small arms, ammunition and uniforms, as well as larger equipment, such as tanks and helicopters.
An ANA Trust Fund covers the transportation and installation costs of equipment donations, the purchase of equipment, the purchase of services for engineering and construction projects, and training, both inside and outside Afghanistan.
ISAF’s primary mission consists of securing Afghanistan and has allowed reconstruction, development, and practical support for these efforts to continue.
The coalition has gradually expanded the reach of its mission since NATO took command of ISAF in 2003. Originally limited to Kabul, it now covers all of Afghanistan’s territory. The number of ISAF troops has grown from the initial 5,000 to over 140,000 troops from 48 countries, including all 28 NATO member nations.
ISAF forces focus on several critical issues such as; a strong and reliable partner in Kabul; enhancing the civilian component of international community efforts in Afghanistan; and improving coordination for enhanced training and development of the Afghan National Security Forces. ISAF forces continue to put the Afghan people at the core of the efforts. Coalition forces respect and seek to protect the Afghan people from coercion and violence.
Every member of the ISAF coalition contributes to the overall Afghan mission. The essence of the contribution in Afghanistan is that 48 nations are standing together to bring about security and stability in Afghanistan and the international commitment remains strong. The essential task at hand for the people of Afghanistan and the Coalition is ensuring there is a fair balance of effort that shares the risks and costs of the mission.
All allies and nations have done a noble job of supporting the NATO/ISAF mission and continue to seek better ways to contribute to an ever-changing and complex mission.