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Operation FingalPhotosForce Composition

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2 Para on patrol in Kabul with local police
The first joint patrol between British
Paras and Afghan police in Kabul
German, Austrian and Dutch soldiers
German, Austrian and Dutch soldiers
deployed with ISAF at Bagram airfield

2 Para on patrol in Kabul with local police
The Chief of Police at Kabul's No4
Police Station meets with
Brigadier-General von Butler, commander
of the German ISAF contingent,
at the start of the first Afghan-German
joint patrol

2 Para on patrol in Kabul with local police
Romanian and UK Military Police
on a joint patrol in Kabul

2 Para on patrol in Kabul with local police
ISAF medics give first aid to
an earthquake victim

A badly burnt young Afghan woman helped by British military medics
Major Bailey found this young woman
close to death in a Bamian hospital
after she fell into an open-air bread
oven, and arranged for her transfer to a
specialist Italian hospital in Kabul


Nineteen countries are providing troops to the International Security Assistance Force to assist the new Afghan Interim Authority with the provision of security and stability in Kabul. Major General McColl handed over leadership of the force to Turkey's Major General Zorlu on 20 June 2002. During its first six months of operation, ISAF:

  • mounted 2,185 joint patrols with Afghan security forces in and around Kabul;
  • disposed of nearly 3 million munitions, 80% of which were anti-personnel landmines;
  • trained the 1st Battalion of the new Afghan National Guard, which subsequently played an important role in ensuring the security of the Loya Jirga;
  • completed some 200 humanitarian aid projects.

The establishment of the force:
The Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon MP, confirmed in the House of Commons on 19 December 2001 that the UK had formally offered to lead ISAF. He set out in the House of Commons on 10 January 2002 the details of the Force's composition.

Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the UK signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding in London on 10 January, formalising their contributions to the Force. Belgium subsequently also signed the Memorandum, and Bulgaria is also contributing personnel. On 14 March, the Czech Republic signed the Memorandum, offering to contribute a military field hospital. Major General McColl signed the Military Technical Agreement - the framework document for the deployment of the ISAF - with the then Afghan Interior Minister, Mohammad Yunis Qanouni, on 4 January 2002.

Pending the arrival of ISAF, Royal Marines from 40 Commando based at Bagram supported Major General McColl and the Afghan Interim Authority once the latter took office on 22 December. Key enabling personnel from 3 (UK) Division and 16 Air Assault Brigade deployed quickly to Kabul to prepare for the arrival of the main body of ISAF, and a multinational reconnaissance team arrived in Kabul on 1 January 2002. A German brigade headquarters took over the task of tactical command of the force from the UK's 16 Air Assault Brigade on 19 March 2002.

It was with very deep regret that it was confirmed on 6 March 2002 that two German and three Danish soldiers from ISAF had been killed in a tragic accident in Kabul. The circumstances of the accident are subject to a full investigation. Major General John McColl's statement following the accident can be found here. A British soldier from the Royal Anglian Regiment died on 9 April 2002 following an incident during a security patrol in Kabul. The circumstances of the incident are the subject of a full investigation, but hostile action was not a factor.

Emergency humanitarian relief assistance:
ISAF provided assistance to the Afghan authorities after an avalanche struck the Salang Tunnel in February. In the aftermath of the earthquake which caused devastation in northern Afghanistan overnight 25/26 March, ISAF responded quickly to requests from the Afghan Interim Authority, dispatching a team of experts to help assess the situation. Subsequently, ISAF transport aircraft were heavily involved in providing the delivery of initial emergency supplies, and medical personnel assisted with the reception of casualties evacuated from the area.

The New Zealand and British ISAF contingents marked ANZAC Day on 25 April 2002, joined by senior officers representing many of the other different national contingents in a simple service of remembrance at Kabul International Airport.

Text of the Military Technical Agreement (PDF Format) (Note that this may not work with Explorer's Acrobat plug-in: if so, use Word version below)
(final and complete version)

Text of the Military Technical Agreement (Word Format)
(final and complete version)


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Page Modified: 3rd December 2001

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