New US general takes command of Afghan NATO force

ISAF has grown from some 36,000 troops a year ago and the Afghan army has more than doubled in size from just over 20,000 at the beginning of last year to about 57,000 now.

New US general takes command of Afghan NATO force
U.S. General David McKiernan took command of around 50,000 troops in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

ISAF has grown from some 36,000 troops a year ago and the Afghan army has more than doubled in size from just over 20,000 at the beginning of last year to about 57,000 now.

While today marks a transition in commanders, the "mission" must continue without missing a beat, said McKiernan after taking command from retiring U.S. General Dan McNeill.

"Insurgents, foreign fighters, criminals and others who stand in the way of that mission will be dealt with."

The president, facing elections next year, has been increasingly critical of the international presence in Afghanistan, saying foreign forces are heavy-handed and the aid effort lacks coordination and effectiveness.

Afghanistan is due to meet its international donors in Paris on June 12 where Karzai is to ask for $50 billion to fund a development plan his government has drawn up.

While it is far from clear whether anything like that figure will be raised, the international community is likely to demand in return for its continued backing a new commitment from Karzai to fight official corruption.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2008, 13:03
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