NATO to expand forces in Afghanistan

NATO has vowed to beef up its Afghanistan peace force to 10,000 from 6,500 to help make elections in September secure.

    NATO troops will take over four Afghan reconstruction teams

    "NATO is meeting its commitments to provide increased security, to support the Afghan government, to support the upcoming elections," an official said at a meeting on Wednesday of alliance leaders in Istanbul.


    He said NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer would deliver that message to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who left for Istanbul on Monday after a new round of bloody attacks in his country.


    NATO has been criticised by non-governmental groups for not expanding its mission more aggressively. Human Rights Watch charged ahead of the summit that alliance "foot-dragging" had exacerbated violence and stalled the country's reconstruction.


    Annan warning


    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has also warned that the crucial polls could be postponed if security does not improve.


    "We will augment these reach approximately 10,000 troops in theatre during the election period"

    unnamed official,
    NATO meet, Istanbul

    But NATO sought to paint a rosy picture of its drive to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Kabul, despite member reluctance to offer costly resources such as transport planes, helicopters and medical facilities.


    "Today NATO's presence amounts to 6500 troops," the official said. "We will augment these reach approximately 10,000 troops in theatre during the election period."


    There were no details on which countries would offer the additional forces.


    In addition to the extra troops for the elections, ISAF will extend its stabilising influence into northern provinces by taking command of four military-civilian reconstruction teams, the official said.


    ISAF already operates one Provincial Reconstruction Team in the northern town of Kunduz.


    It will set up and take command of three others and take over one existing team in the town of Mazar-i-Sharif.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months