More Demand for Muslim Peacekeepers in Afghanistan: Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan, Baku, 5 April /corr. Trend D.Khatinoglu / Official Kabul considers better the existence of more peacekeepers from the Muslim countries in the composition of the international anti-terror coalition forces dislocated in Afghanistan. "The help of the military forces of the Islamic countries in Afghanistan is more effective," the Press Secretary of Afghanistan Foreign Ministry, Shafiullah Khaveri, reported to Trend .
On 4 April, the NATO summit in Bucharest made a decision increasing the number of the foreign peacekeepers in Afghanistan by nearly 2,000. The Alliance plans to establish an effective Afghan Army being comprised of 80,000 soldiers by 2010 and gradually replace the coalition forces with the local soldiers, Associated Press reported on 4 April.
"The local population feels more drawn to the Muslim peacekeepers, including soldiers from Azerbaijan and Arab states," Khaveri reported by telephone from Kabul on 5 April. "These forces better understand the culture, tradition and customs of Afghanistan, and therefore, it is expedient to increase number of the Muslim peacekeepers," the Press Secretary said.
"In Afghanistan's struggle against terrorism along with local forces, foreign peacekeepers play an important role. The NATO coalition forces carried out large operations and are currently training the domestic Afghan Army. However, unfortunately, the aid from Muslim countries' military forces is at lower level," Khavari said.
According to Khavari, although the Afghan servicemen weakened after ousting the Taliban Administration, now they are again getting stronger. The local army, which will be trained during next two years, will have enough force for protection of the stability in the country.
During the NATO summit, which ended on 4 April, France offered sending to Afghanistan 700 servicemen, Georgia - 500, Poland - 400 servicemen and 8 helicopters, the Czech Republic- 120, Azerbaijan - 45, New Zeeland - 18. Presently, there are 47,000 servicemen from 26 NATO countries in Afghanistan.
The number of Azerbaijan's peacekeepers in Afghanistan totals 45.