BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Turkey takes charge of Kabul security
Turkish soldiers
Turkey has historic links with Afghanistan
Britain has handed over the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan to Turkey.

The commander of the Turkish contingent of Isaf took over from his British counterpart at a ceremony in the Afghan capital, Kabul.


When we arrived here there was a great deal of lawlessness. Now we have a situation where the city has come to life

Major-General John McColl
Britain has led Isaf for the past six months, helping the interim government to maintain security in Kabul.

The city's residents have praised Isaf's work in ending the lawless atmosphere which prevailed after the collapse of the Taleban.

The colourful handover ceremony - attended by newly-elected Afghan President Hamid Karzai - took place in the grounds of the old military sports club where Isaf has its headquarters.

The British flag was lowered, the Turkish flag raised, and Major General John McColl transferred command to Turkey's Major General Akin Zorlu.

Order restored

General McColl told the BBC the Isaf force had achieved "a dramatic change in the nature of Kabul".

"When we arrived here... there was a great deal of lawlessness, a large number of armed people on the streets. Now we have a situation where the city has come to life," he said.

"I don't claim that everything here is perfect, either in a security sense or in a political sense, but I do claim that it is moving in the right direction and it has moved remarkably quickly in a very short space of time."

He was confident that Turkish forces would be able to maintain and improve security.

General Zorlu said that the Afghan people had "long deserved" peace and security.

Turkish soldier patrolling Kabul
Turkey is the only state contributing Muslim troops to the peace force
Mr Karzai said that Afghanistan and Turkey had a long history of friendship and that "the Afghan people feel secure" with the Turkish troops.

He praised the British commander, joking that General McColl was so popular he could have been president of the country.

Analysts say the US is keen to promote Turkey - which is predominantly Muslim - as a secular, democratic model for Afghanistan.

Washington also wants to show that it has Muslim allies in its war on terror.

International effort

Isaf has about 5,000 troops from 19, mostly European, countries.

Most of the British contingent of about 1,300 soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment will leave Afghanistan to be replaced by a similar number of Turkish troops.

Germany has the second largest contingent with about 1,200 troops.

About 400 British soldiers will remain to assist with technical operations.

On Wednesday, as Afghanistan's grand national council - the loya jirga - came to an end, General McColl was presented with a medal by Mr Karzai.

The general received a round of applause from delegates, a mark of how much Afghans have appreciated Isaf's work.

Apart from its Isaf contingent, Britain also has a force of 1,700 Royal Marines in Afghanistan as part of the coalition forces hunting for Taleban or al-Qaeda fighters.

The Ministry of Defence in London has said this force will be withdrawn in August, having completed its three-month deployment.


Rebuilding

Political uncertainty

Profiles

Issues

FACT FILE

IN DEPTH

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

19 Jun 02 | South Asia
29 Apr 02 | South Asia
06 Mar 02 | Europe
21 Feb 02 | South Asia
18 Feb 02 | South Asia
27 Dec 01 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes