The Kabul Regional Command was created last summer under the joint leadership of Turkey, France and Italy as part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Turkish troops on Friday took over the rotating leadership of the Kabul Regional Command with a ceremony attended by Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) Brig. Gen. Kasým Erdem, French Gen. Pierre de Villiers and US Gen. Dan K. McNeill, commander of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.
The Kabul Regional Command was created last summer under the joint leadership of Turkey, France and Italy as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The command aims at helping the Afghan government in security and restructuring. Following France (August 2006-April 2007) and Turkey (April 2007-December 2007), Italy will be in charge of the Kabul Regional Command for an eight-month period between December 2007 and August 2008. Expressing his pride at assuming command in a speech delivered at the ceremony, Erdem also thanked both the Afghan authorities and the people for the support and hospitality extended the Turkish troops there. He expressed confidence that the same support would continue during the Turkish command of the Kabul Regional Command.
The responsibility for maintaining security and stability in the country has been assumed by Afghan national forces, Erdem said, but added, "We will continue fulfilling our mission in line with NATO and UN Security Council decisions and also by maintaining our respect for international and national law."
He added that the Turkish troops' guide will always be the remarks by Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who once said, "Peace at home, peace abroad."
"We will do our best to put another brick in the wall that has been built for maintaining security and stability in the area served by the Kabul Regional Command," he said.
Gen. de Villiers also delivered a speech before handing over the command and flag to Erdem.
With the handover of the command, which serves to protect and support peace in Kabul under NATO directives and the UN, the number of Turkish troops deployed in the region will rise to 1,150 from 750. The command, which has not undertaken any actions to counter terrorist movements in the region, does not contribute units to the coalition forces formed under the leadership of the US. The TSK also hasn't undertaken any active missions in the area of drug trafficking in Afghanistan.
In February, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül paid an official visit to Afghanistan during which he received a warm welcome from the Afghan people. While in Afghanistan, Gül also visited a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) established by Turkey in Wardak province. Turkey's PRT officially began its mission in November and will be in Afghanistan for a five-year term to assist Afghan authorities with reconstruction efforts and to enhance development and stability within the province. The establishment of a PRT was only a part of Ankara's continuing efforts to assist in the transformation and restructuring of Afghanistan, which is still plagued by violence and poverty years after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Following heavy floods and avalanches in Afghanistan that left hundreds dead and thousands injured earlier this month, a team of 10 people made up of Health Ministry and Turkish Red Crescent officials flew to the region on Wednesday, taking along 800 blankets and 80 tents.
TODAY'S ZAMANGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16