CARE Calls for Critical Steps in ISAF Expansion in Afghanistan

CARE
Wednesday, 15 October 2003

CARE today released a statement welcoming the United Nations Security Council's decision to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

At the same time, the humanitarian organization urged NATO to act immediately and to ensure that sufficient troops are deployed in the locations most in need of security.

"Everything now depends on whether and how the actual expansion of an international peacekeeping force is carried out," the statement reads.

In recent months, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of attacks, reports of intimidation, and murder of aid workers and civilians associated with reconstruction projects in the Afghan countryside. In implementing the expanded mandate that it has been given by the Security Council, NATO should clarify that an expanded ISAF will focus on security tasks, rather than the sort of reconstruction projects currently being undertaken by Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). NATO-member governments should contribute the required additional troops quickly, so as to help create the conditions required for Afghanistan's transition to democracy.

"NATO members should move quickly from politically acknowledging the need for ISAF expansion to the urgent deployment of a security assistance force of sufficient scale to make a meaningful contribution to improved security throughout Afghanistan. A handful of additional PRTs would not constitute an adequate response," the statement asserts. It continues:

"ISAF forces should also be mandated to confront directly the growing power of regional militia leaders and drug lords, and should have the mobility to respond to serious security threats to Afghans, not just in major urban centers and commercial thoroughfares but also in rural villages where reconstruction is most needed and where most Afghans live."

Click here to read the full text of the statement.

For more information, or to contact CARE, see their website at: www.care.org

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