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Afghanistan: Karzai Wants Wider Peacekeeping Deployment

Kabul, 2 January 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, has indicated that he wants to see the deployments of a multinational security force in his country encompass a wider area than initially planned. Speaking in an interview published today by "The New York Times," Karzai said Afghans from all over the country are asking for troops in the international security force to be sent to cities other than Kabul.

British General John McColl and Afghan Interior Minister Yunis Qanuni initialled an agreement on 31 December about the size and powers of the UN-mandated security force.

About 4,500 troops from 17 countries are to participate under the leadership of Britain. The initial plan calls for deployments mostly in and around Kabul.

Karzai's government took power on 22 December under a UN-brokered agreement that calls for a loya jirga, or tradition assembly of tribal elders, to establish a transitional government by June 2002.