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.
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,
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
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
See pp Ev 29-Ev 30. Back