Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Letter from Rt Hon Jack Straw MP Foreign Secretary, to HE Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General, United Nations

  The United Kingdom warmly welcomes the key role that the United Nations has played in helping to promote new political and security structures in Afghanistan. We would like to congratulate you and Ambassador Brahimi for your tireless efforts, which led to the signing of the Bonn Agreement[3].

  I am now writing to inform you that the United Kingdom is willing to become the initial lead nation for the International Security Assistance Force for Kabul and its surrounding area under the terms of Annex 1 to the Bonn Agreement.

  As stated in Annex 1[4], the responsibility for providing security and law and order throughout Afghanistan resides with the Afghans themselves. The International Security Assistance Force will assist the Interim Afghan Administration in the maintenance of security for Kabul and its surrounding areas. Our proposal is based on the willingness expressed to receive such a force, and an authorising Security Council Resolution.

  The United Kingdom is prepared to serve as initial lead nation for a period of approximately three months for this multinational operational deployment, acting with the authority of the United Nations. It will transfer responsibility as lead nation three months from the declaration of initial operational capability and no later than 30 April 2002. The United Kingdom thus requests you to support efforts to identify a successor lead nation by asking member states to consider urgently the possibility of taking over as next lead nation.

  The core mission of the force in the initial phase would be to assist in the maintenance of security as envisaged in Annex 1 to the Bonn Agreement. We envisage that the tasks of the force could include:

    —  liaison with the new Interim Administration in Afghanistan to help its establishment and the Special Representative of the Secretary General;

    —  advice and support to the Interim Administration and to the United Nations and its personnel in Kabul on security issues;

    —  scoping future requirements for helping the Afghan authorities in the establishment and training of new Afghan security and armed forces, key infrastructure development tasks and possible future expanded security assistance in other areas of Afghanistan.

  The International Security Assistance Force will have a particular mission authorised by a United Nations Security Council Resolution that is distinct from Operation Enduring Freedom. The United Kingdom, as lead nation, will exercise command of the International Security Assistance Force. It will include the troops and equipment contributed by other nations and will have the support of the United States.

  In respect of the relationship between the International Security Assistance Force and forces operating in Afghanistan theatre under Operation Enduring Freedom, and for reasons of effectiveness, the United States Central Command will have authority over the International Security Assistance Force to deconflict International Security Assistance Force and Operation Enduring Freedom activities and to ensure that International Security Assistance Force activities do not interfere with the successful completion of Operation Enduring Freedom.

  A Joint Co-ordinating Body will be developed with representatives from the United States Central Command, the Afghan Interim Administration and the International Security Assistance Force to deal with operational issues.

  To ensure effective political-military co-ordination, the International Security Assistance Force will establish a Committee of Contributors with the lead nation in the chair. As initial lead nation, the United Kingdom will report regularly to the Security Council on developments.

  I should be grateful if you would have this letter circulated as a document of the Security Council.

Rt Hon Jack Straw

Secretary of State

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

19 December 2001

3   See pp Ev 26-Ev 29. Back

4   See pp Ev 29-Ev 30. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 20 June 2002