The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been in Afghanistan since August 2003 to command the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was created on December 20, 2001, by Security Council Resolution 1386 of the United Nations, in accordance with the Bonn Agreement. ISAF has become NATO's biggest priority, but it is a tough mission, as Afghanistan has always remained a very particular state. In fact, during the last two centuries, Afghanistan has always opposed with a strong determination to any military intervention on its territory. This reputation has been dramatically shown by the British experience in the nineteenth century, and even more by the Soviet one in the twentieth century.
Since 1978 and the Soviet invasion, Afghanistan is known only for war, violence, with a population which is permanently waiting for a minimum security. The country has a fragile and unequal economy with a very fragmented social and political structure. From the beginning, this mission was very important in international relations, because Afghanistan was suspected of helping terrorists groups, especially Al-Qaeda, held responsible for the 9/11 attack.
Talibans gained power in Afghanistan in 1996 and it became the ideal place for combatants who wanted to practice a fundamental Islam, train themselves and plan for potential actions. Then, the Talibans found an interlocutor in the name of Bin Laden, the main leader of the Base, Al-Qaeda. So there was an undisputable link between Al-Qaeda and Afghanistan. Thus, after 9/11, the Taliban regime's future was sealed when Al-Qaeda's responsibility was established. Afghanistan refused to help the United States and deliver the culprits, so the country was invaded and occupied by the US and the Taliban regime was knocked down.
Then, the United States have been helped by the United Nations forces and NATO, in order to give military and political support to the new regime. But from 2003, the international community's attention has turned towards Iraq, the second front of the Global War On Terrorism (GWOT). Gradually, the Talibans, Al-Qaeda and other military factions opposed to Kabul's government and President Hamid Karzai strengthened their pressure. They are not based in Afghanistan anymore, but mainly in Pakistan, a nuclear power, which is also supposed to be the United States' main ally in this region, is a paradoxical and delicate situation.
[...] Conclusion: Afghanistan redefining NATO's role in international relations “This is one of the most challenging tasks NATO has ever taken on, but it is a critical contribution to international security” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Indeed, for ISAF and NATO, the next few years will be decisive, because a more stable and secure Afghanistan would bring considerable benefits to the Alliance. The application of a determined and consistent policy in Afghanistan and carrying out the mission mandated by the United Nations would contribute not only to defeat terrorism and bring regional stability, but also lead a better life for millions of Afghans, who continue to depend on the support of the international community. [...]
[...] Reforming the security sector in Afghanistan Another key task for NATO is to support the development by the Afghan government of its own national security forces. The supervision and support of the Afghan National Army is a test. While endorsing the Afghanistan Compact in 2006, the Afghan government has pledged to create an Afghan National Army by 2010, with a total of 70000 men, who would be fully professional, well-trained and ethnically balanced. Much progress has already been achieved on this track, with assistance from major donors and leader countries. [...]
[...] II The evolution of NATO's role in the Afghanistan war ISAF is a UN-mandated mission that is led by NATO in order to keep peace in Afghanistan and give support to the country both militarily and for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. How has ISAF's role evolved facing the situation in Afghanistan ? The development of ISAF and the enlargement of NATO's field of intervention The main military tasks of ISAF are to assist the Afghan government to extend its authority throughout the country, to conduct operations with the Afghan national security forces, to supervise and to support the Afghan national army, and to provide support to the Afghan government programs to disarm illegal armed groups. [...]
[...] So NATO was progressively involved in ISAF, first of all because of practical difficulties and since August 11th 2003, the ISAF was supported and led by NATO, and financed by the troop contributing nations. NATO is responsible for the command, coordination and planning of the force. This includes providing a force commander and headquarters on the ground in Afghanistan. NATO's role in assuming the leadership of ISAF in August 2003 overcame the problem of a continual search to find new nations to lead the mission and the difficulties of setting up a new headquarters every six months in a complex environment. [...]
[...] Will the operations in Afghanistan contribute to reconsider the role of NATO in a more efficient way? I origins of NATO's intervention in Afghanistan As it was underlined before, Afghanistan has been the cynosure of the international community since the attacks of September That is why the Bonn Conference met to create the ISAF. Afghanistan in the center of the Global War On Terrorism: Operation Enduring Freedom and the Bonn Conference Following the attacks of September NATO gave its agreement to have recourse to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty considering the fact that these events constituted armed attack against one or more of [its members]”. [...]
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