United Nations Transition Assistance Group

March 1989 — April 1990

The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) arose from the dispute between the occupying South African authorities, and the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), which strove for the independence of Namibia. SWAPO and its military wing, the People's Liberations Army of Namibia (PLAN), were supported by neighbouring Angola, which allowed PLAN fighters and their Cuban allies to operate from its territory.

In 1978 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 435, establishing UNTAG for a period of 12 months, to ensure Namibian independence through free elections under the UN's supervision and control. This was not implemented at the time, as South Africa introduced a link between their withdrawal and the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola.

It was November 1988 before all parties (Cuba, Angola, South Africa and the United States) agreed to a phased Cuban withdrawal. UNTAG commenced in 1989.

Because of PLAN's large presence in southern Angola, UNTAG-ANGOLA (UNTAG-A) was formed to monitor the confinement of PLAN fighters to their Angolan bases. UNTAG-A's mandate was fulfilled after only 330 days. UNTAG's duties in Namibia ended a month after independence was secured.

Operation Details
Duration 16 March 1989 — 7 April 1990 
Operation type: UN led Peacekeeping Operations (Observer) 
Commitment:     20

Visit the official UNTAG website 





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