International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan)

December 2001 to date

In 1989 Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan after a bloody 10-year conflict that left hundreds of thousands of Afghans dead. The communist regime they left behind fell in 1992 when mujahideen fighters took Kabul.
Rather than ending the fighting the country slipped into a vicious civil war between the various mujahideen factions.

In 1996 one group, the Taliban, comprising mainly Sunni Muslim Pashtus and foreign fighters from Pakistan, Chechnya, North Africa, and several Arab countries emerged as victors.

The Taliban introduced the strictest form of sharia (Islamic law) and allowed the establishment of international guerrilla and terrorist training camps, including Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group.

In the wake of the September 11th attacks on New York in 2001 the US invaded Afghanistan with the support of the Northern Alliance, a mujahideen group opposed to the Taliban.

On December 5th, 2001 the Bonn Agreement was signed by leading Afghan political figures and representatives of the leading world powers. Resulting from this agreement an international force, ISAF, was established to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan. On December 20th, ISAF was mandated by UNSCR 1386.

The initial deployment was 5,300 troops from 30 countries, mainly concentrated on Kabul. Ireland's contribution is seven personnel, who operate in ISAF HQ, four being employed in the Liaison and Negotiations Branch.

One of ISAF's main aims, to assist the transitional authority in conducting free and democratic elections, was completed in 2004 with the election of President Hamid Karzai's government.

Operation Details
Duration December 2001 to date
Operation type NATO-PfP led Peace Support Operations
Commitment 7 Personnel

Visit the official ISAF Site

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