NATO's role in Afghanistan
NATO’s main role in Afghanistan is to assist the Afghan Government in extending its authority and influence across the country, paving the way for reconstruction and effective governance. It does this predominately through its UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Since NATO took command of ISAF in 2003, the Alliance has gradually expanded the reach of its mission, originally limited to Kabul, to cover Afghanistan’s whole territory. The number of ISAF troops has grown accordingly from the initial 5,000 to around 50.000 troops coming from 42 countries, including all 28 NATO members.
ISAF is a key component of the international community’s engagement in Afghanistan, assisting the Afghan authorities in providing security and stability and creating the conditions for reconstruction and development. ISAF, through its Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTS), is helping the Afghan Authorities strengthen the institutions required to fully establish good governance and to promote human rights. PRTs’ principal mission consists of building capacity, supporting the growth of governance structures and promoting an environment which governance can improve.
ISAF’s main role is to assist the Afghan government in the establishment of a secure and stable environment. ISAF forces are conducting security and stability operations throughout the country together with the Afghan National Security Forces and are directly involved in the development of the Afghan National Army through mentoring, training and equipping. ISAF conducts security and stability operations across Afghanistan.
Main Roles of Peace-Keeping Efforts in Afghanistan
The two main roles were to support the Afghan National Army and to support the Afghan National Police.
Firstly, the ISAF is helping the Afghan National Army (ANA) to operating capability in support of the United States which is sponsoring the overall ANA training and equipping programme.Under the NATO Equipment Donation Programme, Allied Command Operations (ACO), with its headquarters in Mons Belgium, coordinates equipment donations on behalf of ISAF contributing nations. A funding programme has also been established to cover the transportation and installation costs of the equipment donations, the purchase of equipment, the purchase of services for engineering & construction projects and trainings.
Secondly, the ISAF also provides support to the Afghan National Police (ANP) within means of ISAF’s key supporting tasks. ISAF works with United States as well as the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) which was launched in June 2007
Limitations in the Peace-Keeping Efforts
However, there may be limited success despite efforts to keep peace in Afghanistan. On 10th February 2008, the NATO commander says that more troops are needed in the Afghanistan due to disrupting critics saying that the alliance is losing Afghanistan. The commander asked for more troops from member nations to aid in the programme.
All 26 member nations have sent contingents, but the total force remains short of aircraft, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities and about 7,000 troops.
There is minor small progress on the governance and economic development due to the shortages in resources that were donated.
Solutions to Problems
The NATO commander commented that the NATO governments and private groups working in Afghanistan do not have a coordinated reporting system. Thus, he hopes that the alliance can change by appointing a civilian coordinator for its Afghan mission. The troop shortage, and other problems will be discussed when NATO's top leaders meet at a summit in Romania in April, 2008.
Peace-keeping Efforts in Afghanistan
NATO's role in Afghanistan