Sunday, February 11, 2007

Afghanistan: International Security Assistance Force

The following NATO and non-NATO nations are contributing troops to the ISAF. The numbers are based in part from here; when more recent numbers are available they are given.

ISAF is also being backed by 28,600 troops of the Afghan National Army and 30,200 Afghan policemen, whom are described by the British Ministry of Defence as "fully equipped and trained".

NATO nations

Flag of Belgium Belgium - 616: (300 at October, 2006) The mission is named BELU ISAF 12. The main task is to secure the airport of Kabul. The detachment at Kunduz is assisting in the north the PRTs of Kunduz and Mazari Sharif.

  • Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria - 150. In 2006 there are 150 Bulgarian troops as of OCTOBER. In 2007 Bulgaria will send 200 more soldiers.

  • Flag of Canada Canada - 2500 in Kandahar. Forty-four Canadian soldiers have been killed in action along with a member of Foreign Affairs Canada. See main article Canada's role in Afghanistan

  • Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic - At the start of the Czech contribution 17. By June 2006 there were 100 Czech soldiers in two Czech operations.

At the airport of Kabul is a Czech ACR contingent deployed. The task of the ACR contingent is EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). Keeping minefield awareness and anti-explosives protection of the KAIA International Airport in Kabul, and, second, the contribution of the Czech personnel to air traffic weather service. The Number of Czech military personnel on this operation is 17 (to 1 June 2006).

The Czech 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion have been part of a provincial reconstruction team at Fayzabad, Badakshan province, since 9 March 2005. Their task is to support security in the area, to protect international units, and to cooperate with local people in reconstruction of their homeland. Czech scouts are assigned to the team of about 200 soldiers together with Danes and soldiers of the German Bundeswehr. The number of Czech military personnel on this operation is 83 (to 1 June 2006). The number of troops is expected to rise to 150 by the end of the year when the Czechs take command of Kabul's airport. At the end of September 2006, the Czech Republic's defense ministry said, it plans to contribute up to 190 troops to the force next year. The move still must be approved by the government and parliament.

  • Flag of Denmark Denmark - 389. Three were killed in an ordnance disposal explosion along with two Germans. Danish soldiers are attached to the German-led PRT at Fayzabad (Badakhshan).

  • Flag of Estonia Estonia - (10). At November, 2006, there are 79 defence forces personnel from Estonia serving in Afghanistan. The Estonian Defence Forces units are located primarily in the southern province of Helmand, together with armed forces of the United Kingdom and Denmark. By the end of 2006, Estonia plans to increase its presence in Afghanistan to 120 troops.

  • Flag of France France - 742 ; once the fourth largest ISAF contingent. (At September 2006, there are 1,700 French soldiers in Afghanistan). The current French Army detachment in Kabul, known as Pamir XIV, is on a five-month deployment that officially began August 6, 2006. Nine French soldiers have been killed as part of ISAF and OEF: 2 in a vehicle accident, and 7 in various ambushes and gunbattles.

  • Flag of Germany Germany - 3,000, which made Germany once the largest contributor to the ISAF (now the US and the UK are the largest contributors; 2006). The German soldiers are deployed in the north of the country. The task of the German ISAF contribution is to assist the Afghan central government at the four northern provinces of Kunduz, Taloqan (Is the capital of Takhar province (ed.)), Baghlan and Badakhshan. Germany is leading the Provincial Reconstruction Teams at Konduz and Badakhshan. The mandate, given by the German Parliament, does only allow the Bundeswehr to take part in the battle against the Taliban insurgency in the south and east of Afghanistan in exceptional circumstances. 18 German soldiers have been killed: 7 in an accidental helicopter crash, 4 in accidental disposal explosions, one in a vehicle accident and 6 in ambushes and attacks.

  • Flag of Greece Greece - 171, some stationed at Kabul airport and others at hospitals. There are around 130 soldiers and 45 air force personnel. At least two were wounded in a suicide attack in November 2005.

  • Flag of Hungary Hungary - 159; 1 October 2006 Hungary took over responsibility, from the Dutch, for the Provincial Reconstruction Team at the town Pul-e Khumri (Puli Khumri), the capital of Baghlan province.
  • Flag of Iceland Iceland - 20. Consisting of a Mobile/Military Observation Team and various personnel operating Kabul International Airport.
  • Flag of Italy Italy - 506. In February 2007, there are 1,950 Italian soldiers in Afghanistan. Six have died under ISAF: one in a vehicle accident, one as a result of an accidental weapon discharge, one in an accidental civilian plane crash, one due to a heart attack and two in a roadside bombing.
  • Flag of Latvia Latvia - 9
  • Flag of Lithuania Lithuania - 115: In June 2005 ISAF established in Chaghcharan, the capital of Ghor province, a Lithuanian Provincial Reconstruction Team in which Danish, US and Icelandic troops also serve.
  • Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg - 10. Luxemburg is working together with Belgium in BELU ISAF.
  • Flag of Netherlands Netherlands - 1907 - The main Task Force Uruzgan consists of 200 troops in Deh Rahwod and 1000 troops in Tarin Kowt, at Kamp Holland, (both in Uruzgan province). The Air Task Force consists of a AH-64 Apache detachment (6 helicopters) in Tarin Kowt and a Eurocopter Cougar and F-16 detachment (8 jets) at Kandahar Airfield. The staff for Regional Command South is also located in Kandahar. An unknown number of Dutch SOF operate in southern Afghanistan as well. The Netherlands has lost 4 soldiers in Afghanistan; 2 in a helicopter crash, 1 in an F-16 crash and 1 soldier committed suicide (all in 2006).
  • Flag of Norway Norway - 540 - The Norwegian ISAF forces operate out of Kabul, Meymaneh and Mazar-e-Sharif. One Norwegian soldier was killed and another lightly wounded in a rocket propelled grenade attack on a convoy of four Norwegian Mercedes Geländewagen MB-290s 23 May 2004 while returning from a mission in the capital Kabul. Several others were wounded in hostile and non-hostile acts spanning 2001-2006 (ISAF and OEF).
  • Flag of Poland Poland - 100 (an additional 1,200 troops due in February 2007)
  • Flag of Portugal Portugal - 156. One soldier was killed when when an exploding roadside bomb struck his vehicle.
  • Flag of Romania Romania - 72. Four have been killed: One in a firefight which later claimed the life of another badly wounded soldier, one in a landmine explosion, and one in a roadside bombing which severely damaged a Romanian tank. Romania planned to send a battalion at October 2006.
  • Flag of Slovakia Slovakia - 57 Multifunctional engineer company located in Kabul International Airport, demining airport, building and repairing airports
  • Flag of Slovenia Slovenia - 49 (May 2006)
  • Flag of Spain Spain – Approximately 800. 18 died in a helicopter crash in August 2005, while 62 Spanish soldiers were killed in May 2003 when their plane crashed in Turkey as it was returning home. Another soldier was killed in a bombing.
  • Flag of Turkey Turkey – 825 ; (Once the third largest contingent) The only Muslim country in the ISAF. Turkey's responsibilities include providing security for Kabul and western regions of the country, as well as providing reconstruction teams.
  • Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom – 5,800. Over 4,000 are in Helmand province and over 1,000 are in Kabul.

The UK was one of the first countries to join the US-led coalition into Afghanistan. (6 soldiers have died as part of ISAF (as well as 31 under OEF): one was murdered by a comrade (who then committed suicide), one died in an accidental weapon discharge, 2 were killed in separate suicide bombings and one died in a firefight.)

Currently there are 5,500 British troops deployed in Afghanistan. That figure would rise to 5,800 in October. Of those already in Afghanistan, 1,300 are in Kabul and 4,200 are in the southern province of Helmand. In addition the RAF has numerous planes and helicopters positioned in the country, including C130 cargo planes, CH-47 heavy lift helicopters, Nimrod surveillance planes as well as a squadron of Harrier GR7 attack planes. The army air corps also provides a number of Westland Lynx and WAH-64 Apache helicopters

They are there to help train Afghan security forces, facilitate reconstruction, and provide security. But over the last few months, the situation in the north of Helmand has turned increasingly violent, with British troops involved in fierce fire fights against the Taliban and anti-coalition militia (ACM). British troops have been involved in heavy clashes in the towns of Sangin, Musa Qaleh, Kajaki and Nawzad. The article Q&A: UK troops in Afghanistan (BBC News) gives also a list of the British units which are taking part in the ISAF mission. According to this article, ISAF is also being backed by 28,600 troops of the Afghan National Army and 30,200 Afghan policemen, whom are described by the British Ministry of Defence as "fully equipped and trained".

  • Flag of United States United States - 12,000 US Troops came under the command of NATO-ISAF on October 5, 2006. (8,000 more troops remain under US control to train the Afghan National Army and to hunt Taliban leaders and Al-Qaida members.)

Partner nations

  • Flag of Albania Albania - 22
  • Flag of Austria Austria - 4
  • Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan - 22
  • Flag of Croatia Croatia - 147 + 69
  • Flag of Finland Finland - 100
  • Flag of Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia – 120
  • Flag of Republic of Ireland Ireland - 7
  • Flag of Sweden Sweden - 220 troops. One soldier from the elite unit SSG was killed in an IED attack on 25 November 2005; while a seriously wounded comrade died of his wounds several days later. As a result, one month later the Swedish parliament voted to double Sweden's contribution to ISAF. Sweden leads the PRT at Mazari Sharif.
  • Flag of Switzerland Switzerland - 4

Non-NATO / Non-EAPC nations

  • Flag of Australia Australia - 120 Special Forces of the Australian Special Air Service and 4 RAR, and 120 Australian Army Aviation personnel with two CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters. One SAS soldier has been killed in a landmine explosion. The core of the Australian troops are based at Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, at Kamp Holland, with 360 personnel, together with the main Dutch contribution to ISAF. (October, 2006)
  • Flag of New Zealand New Zealand sent around 50 Special Air Service troops to southern Afghanistan during 2-3 deployments. A few were wounded. The country is leading the PRT at Bamian.

Morning Shadows: Band-i-Haibat, Band-i-Amir, Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan.

The Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team conducts mine awareness and unexploded ordnance safety training for children from Kandahar City. Air Force Maj. Tammy Tremblay shows off her Canadian Flag and International Security Assistance Force patches to children who attended the mine and unexploded ordnance awareness training.

Some of the children are employed by a recycling company to hunt through garbage for recyclables, while others are street children. In addition to the training session and a snack, all children received rubber boots, socks, gloves, backpacks, colouring kits and stuffed toys.

The Kandahar PRT consists of Canadian Forces members, a civilian police contingent led by the RCMP, representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency. The PRT conducts coordinated interdepartmental operations to promote good governance and assist the Government of Afghanistan to extend its authority in the province of Kandahar, to facilitate the development of a stable, secure and self-sustaining environment for the Afghan people.

Canadian International Development Agency officer Helene Kadi wishes one of the children farewell, as they prepare to depart Camp Nathan Smith.

+ OTTAWA — The global aviation authority has quietly told Canada to beef up air security through improved cargo screening and better training programs.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The long period of calm at Kandahar Airfield was shattered Sunday night when two rebel rockets slammed into the base, injuring one NATO soldier...Lt-Cmdr. Kris Phillips, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces, said the injured soldier was not a Canadian.

HEROUXVILLE, Que. — A delegation of Muslim women is visiting a Quebec town that passed a controversial code aimed at immigrants. The women were clad in traditional Muslim headscarves as they met with about 50 residents of Herouxville, where the town council passed the list of societal norms that would-be immigrants would have to adhere to. Among the norms, a man cannot stone a woman to death and faces are not to be covered except at Halloween. Herouxville also says childen shouldn't carry weapons, including Sikh kirpans, to school.


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