NATO to provide troops for Afghan polls

March 12th, 2009 - 11:55 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels, March 12 (IANS) NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has assured Afghanistan that the military alliance was preparing to provide troops for the upcoming elections, EuAsiaNews reported.
Scheffer made the assurance while meeting Afghanistan’s visiting defence chief General Bismallah Khan at the NATO headquarters here Wednesday, James Appathurai, a spokesman for the 26-nation military alliance, told reporters.

“The elections (in Afghanistan) are considered by NATO to be a very important benchmark for Afghanistan’s democratic progress and we will play our part as the third line of security,” said the spokesman.

NATO has around 55,000 troops under its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan.

Appathurai said the voter registration process in Afghanistan has been completed and out of total 15.6 million eligible voters, about 35 percent were female voters.

Meanwhile, Scheffer is to attend the international meeting on Afghanistan which will be held March 31 at The Hague, The Netherlands, the spokesman added.

The one-day meeting to be attended by Afghanistan’s neighbours and other stakeholders will be hosted by the Dutch government and presided over by the UN.

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