Turkey Sends Military Delegation to Afghanistan in Preparations of Heading Security Force
Turkey is sending a military delegation to Afghanistan in order to prepare to take over command of the UN-mandated international security force in the capital city of Kabul.
The Turkish army issued a statement Monday saying its representatives, headed by General Akin Zorlu will be in Afghanistan Wednesday to meet with British officials currently in charge of the International Security Assistance Force, known as ISAF. Britain's leadership role ends later this month.
On Friday, Turkey said it had agreed in principle to lead ISAF, however wanted clarification of the force's mandate and guarantees of international support for the mission.
The Turkish government said it wanted to be sure other countries would contribute sufficient manpower and equipment and help pay the cost of maintaining troops in Afghanistan.
The statement from Ankara Monday adds that Turkey plans to send a command team as well as additional troops to Kabul. It currently has around 260 troops among the nearly 5,000 international peacekeepers positioned around the capital.
Turkey is the only mainly Muslim country with troops in the international force.
Interim Afghan government leader Hamid Karzai wants the peace-keeping role expanded beyond Kabul. The UN Security Council recently extended the security force mandate beyond the month of June, however resisted calls to send international troops into other areas of the country. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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