Aiming to foster a secure environment for the political transition in Afghanistan, the United Nations Security Council today authorized the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force to assist the Afghan Interim Authority in Kabul and its surrounding areas.
Voting unanimously, the Council adopted a resolution calling on States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to the new Force to be established for a 6-month period. The 15-member body called on all neighbouring countries and other UN Member States to provide the Force with the needed assistance, including "overflight clearance and transit."
The resolution, passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter that provides for the use of force, also authorized participating countries to "take all necessary measures" in carrying out their responsibilities. The text notes that in implementing its mandate, the Force will work in close consultation with the Afghan Interim Authority.
The Council also called on all Afghans to cooperate with the Force and relevant international organizations, and welcomed the commitment of the parties to the Bonn Agreement - which paved the way for the Interim Authority - to "do all within their means and influence" to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of all UN and other international personnel in Afghanistan.
The resolution urged the parties to make good on their pledge made in Bonn on 5 December to withdraw all military units from Kabul in cooperation with the Force. Member States participating in the Force were called on to help the Interim Authority in the establishment and training of new Afghan security and armed forces.
The Council's authorization of the Force was envisaged in Annex I to the Bonn Agreement, which stipulated that such a force "could, as appropriate, be progressively expanded to other urban centres and other areas."
Under the Bonn Agreement, the political transition to the Interim Authority is set to take place on 22 December. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, currently in Islamabad, will head to Kabul tomorrow to attend the hand-over ceremony on Saturday.