24/05/2004

More peacekeepers needed for Afghan elections, says Nato

Nato has said that it needs at least another 3,600 troops for its mission in Afghanistan if September's elections are to run smoothly.

Returning from a visit to Kabul, Nato Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President and Defence and Security Committee Rapporteur, Pierre Lellouche warned that the NATO mission in Afghanistan was at a "critical juncture". He said that the increase in manpower was necessary or "[we] risk losing all that we have invested”.

Mr Lellouche was speaking following the conclusion of fact-finding trip by the Nato Parliamentary Assembly which met with commanders and Afghan political authorities.

The four-member delegation were "impressed" with progress made in the country over the past two years. But French MP, Mr Lellouche, stated that all key players highlighted the need for increased security beyond Kabul in advance of the September elections as required by the UN.

A better manned and equipped security presence would help permit proper voter registration in the countryside as well as progress in disarming the numerous militias still operating in Afghanistan.

He added: "Not only is it necessary to at least maintain ISAF at current levels by hopefully having Spain replace the Canadian contingent, but additional means are indispensable for the conduct of Afghanistan’s first-ever elections in September.

“It is clear that the Afghan people are sick or war and warlords. We can help them build a functioning peaceful state, free of warlords, private armies and massive drug trafficking, but we must act now.”

(gmcg)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 April 2011
NATO Foreign Ministers Meet In Berlin
Over the next two days, Foreign Secretary William Hague is meeting with Foreign Ministers from the 27 other NATO countries and over 20 partner countries in Berlin. The UK and NATO are working with a broad range of partners to confront security challenges.
19 September 2008
UK Backs NATO Transformation Plans
NATO's Defence Ministers are meeting in London today to discuss how to deliver a more efficient and effective NATO. Ministers will talk about how NATO can produce quicker response forces and more mobile capabilities.
02 February 2010
Cadbury Deal Closure Looms
Cadbury workers have called on the government to intervene in the takeover bid by a US foods firm. Shareholder of the chocolate produce have until lunchtime today to vote on a £11.5bn ($18.9bn) offer put forward by Kraft. Union members are concerned by the lack of guarantees over job security. Unite has lobbied ministers to back employee retention.
02 December 2004
EU takes over Bosnian peacekeeping role from Nato
The European Union has taken over control of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina today (December 2), the largest mission the Union has ever embarked upon.
01 December 2003
Britain takes lead role in Nato's chemical defence unit
Britain is to take on a leading role in a new multinational Nato battalion designed to respond to attacks from Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons.