Turkey has agreed to extend by one year its command of NATO peacekeepers in the Afghan capital of Kabul, the foreign ministry said on Friday.
Turkey had taken over the Kabul regional command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for one year on November 1, 2009 after an eight-month stint in 2007. “Turkey has decided that the Turkish Armed Forces will continue its leadership of the Kabul Regional Command for one more year, until November 1, 2012,” the ministry said in a written statement. “This decision constitutes yet another important example of the contributions made by Turkey, first and foremost in the training of Afghan security forces, to create conditions conducive to sustainable security and stability in this friendly and brotherly country,” it added.
Turkey, which has the second largest standing army in the alliance, currently has 1,800 soldiers serving in ISAF. Unlike other European members of ISAF, Turkey’s mission is limited to patrols and its troops do not take part in combat operations.