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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 22:01 GMT
Profile: Major General John McColl
Major General McColl speaks to journalists outside the British embassy in Kabul
General McColl has previously served with the UN
Up to 1,500 British troops will lead a multi-national stabilisation force in Afghanistan, to be commanded by Major General John McColl. BBC News Online profiles him.

Major General McColl started his army career in 1973 when he was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment and his early appointments included spells in Cyprus, Norway, Northern Ireland and Belize.

He attended the Army Staff Course in Camberley in 1984 before serving as a staff officer in Germany, where he returned in 1992 as a commander. He then accompanied the UN to Bosnia in 1994.

On being promoted to colonel he was appointed to chief of staff 1st (UK) Armoured Division in 1995 before returning to Bosnia a year later as part of Nato's Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) for a further six-month tour.

He was appointed to general officer commanding 3rd (UK) Division in November last year.

General McColl is married with three children and lists his hobbies as golf and running very slowly.

He has been leading a small reconnaissance group of about a dozen soldiers in Kabul who began making practical arrangements for the main deployment.

He also met leader designate of the interim Afghan administration, Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah over the weekend. It is their fledgling governance that the force will seek to protect.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"For the people of Kabul, the forces can't arrive soon enough"
See also:

19 Dec 01 | South Asia
UK to lead 'risky' Afghan mission
02 Nov 01 | South Asia
Karzai: King's powerful Pashtun ally
19 Nov 01 | South Asia
Afghan powerbrokers: Who's who
19 Dec 01 | South Asia
Al-Qaeda's new military chief
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