International Security Assistance Force –ISAF was established on 12/20/2001 by an UN Security Council resolution. Forty different nations contribute troops to this military force, including contributions from Canada, the United States, European Countries, Australia, New Zealand, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Turkey, Singapore and support elements from South Korea and Japan.
Until 10/13/2003 ISAF mandate did not go beyond the boundaries of Kabul district. A new UN Security Council resolution (1510) expanded the ISAF mission beyond Kabul to the rest of the country where ISAF is needed.
ISAF has, in 2009, 53,250 -55,000 troops, In edition to over 60,000 US troops, including National Support Elements from South Korea and Japan and its key mission is to assist the Afghan authorities in providing security and stability, paving the way for reconstruction and effective governance which means, practically, to train and equip the National Afghan Army and to help the Afghan government to fight the Taliban, mainly in the South and East of Afghanistan in the Pashtu tribes areas.
Giving Afghanistan territory, 625,000 km – much more then Iraq, and the sectarian divided population of about 28 millions, also more then in Iraq, the numbers of NATO troops are ridiculous. In addition, most of them operate under very strict rules of engagement, issued by their governments, which practically prevent them from taking part in aggressive military operations. The real fighting is carried out mainly by UK and USA troops.
Most of the military operations in Afghanistan are conducted by the 62,000 USA troops, about 8,000 British troops and small Canadian and Australian forces (09/2009). The other forces including regiments from Germany, Italy, France and Spain abstain from any initiated offensive in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
The participation of Europe in ISAF caused a political tension between USA and its European allies about the burden of the war in Afghanistan.
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