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UN Security Council Approves International Force for Afghanistan - 2001-12-20

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an international security force for Afghanistan.

The resolution authorizes the force for a six-month period to assist the interim Afghan government in providing security in and around the Afghan capital of Kabul. The resolution calls on all Afghans to cooperate with the security force and notes that all Afghan parties have agreed to withdraw their military units from Kabul.

Britain will be leading the force and British ambassador Jeremy Greenstock told reporters the first group of troops will arrive in Kabul in time for the official start of the interim government on Saturday. "The United Kingdom is ready to go," he said. "We will have a small number of troops on the ground on the day, Saturday, in Kabul. The full British contingent will be in place a certain number of days thereafter."

Mr. Greenstock said if the interim government decides it wants the security force to deploy outside of the Kabul area, it would require a additional Security Council resolution.

United States ambassador John Negroponte said U.S. military forces will continue to operate in Afghanistan but not as part of the security force. "Our forces are there with a particular set of responsibilities, which is to root out the al-Qaida and fight against the remnant elements of the Taleban. In other words a war-fighting mission," he said.

Mr. Negroponte indicated that there should be no conflict between the mission of U.S. forces and the international security troops in Afghanistan.