London Agrees To Lead International Security Force In Afghanistan

A meeting in London of representatives of military establishments of 16 states and of the UN has decided to set up an international security force in Afghanistan, an official spokesman for the British Defence Ministry said Saturday. London confirmed its readiness to play a leading role in the force after the planning of the operation is completed, a mandate to conduct it is received from the UN, and Afghanistan's interim government gives its consent. An international force will be dispatched to Afghanistan after appropriate preparatory work is finished, the spokesman for the British military establishment emphasised. The London meeting was attended by top military officials from Britain, Argentina, Australia, the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Holland, New Zealand, and Spain, as well as a representative of the UN. Discussed were three main questions: how troops belonging to the force will be acting, their tasks, and the concrete number of servicemen to be contributed by every country. Under the decisions taken at the meeting, representatives of the US, Canada, Italy and Britain are to arrive in Kabul on Saturday evening to look into the situation on the spot and establish contacts with Afghan authorities.