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Afghanistan: NATO Looking To Expand Security Force Beyond Kabul

Brussels, 18 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- NATO today asked its military experts to begin studying the feasibility of extending the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan beyond the capital, Kabul. The military planners are set to report back on 26 September with an assessment of the security risks in Afghanistan and options and requirements for expanding the mission.

The United Nations and Afghan Transitional Authority Chairman Hamid Karzai have called for the ISAF to be expanded to help restore stability to Afghanistan's provinces. The United States and Germany last week called on NATO to examine the possibility of boosting the UN-mandated force.

NATO took over leadership of the 5,500-strong international force last month.