Afghanistan — Nearly 120,000 Troops From 47 Countries Serve in ISAF

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2010 — The NATO-led Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan now has almost 120,000 troops from 47 dif­fer­ent coun­tries assigned to it, NATO offi­cials said yes­ter­day.

The Unit­ed States pro­vides 78,430 of that total, part of the rough­ly 100,000 Amer­i­can troops now based in the coun­try. The top lead­er­ship is all Amer­i­can, with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus com­mand­ing ISAF and U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Army Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez com­mands the ISAF Joint Com­mand, and Army Lt. Gen. William B. Cald­well com­mands NATO Train­ing Mis­sion Afghanistan.

The largest region­al com­mand in Afghanistan is in the south, with 35,000 troops. The com­mand is focused on Kan­da­har, the country’s sec­ond-largest city and the spir­i­tu­al home of the Tal­iban. Region­al Com­mand South is under the com­mand of British army Maj. Gen. Nick Carter.

Kan­da­har is the focus of coun­terin­sur­gency efforts now. The Amer­i­can pres­ence in the region is sig­nif­i­cant, with U.S. troops around the city, in the Arghandab Riv­er val­ley and guard­ing the road net­work link­ing the city with the rest of the coun­try. Cana­di­ans run the provin­cial recon­struc­tion team in Kan­da­har, Aus­tralians oper­ate the team in Tarin Kowt, and the team in Qalat is Amer­i­can-run.

The next-largest region­al com­mand is in the east, with 32,000 per­son­nel. Region­al Com­mand East is built around the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion head­quar­ters, with Army Maj. Gen. John Camp­bell com­mand­ing. In addi­tion to the U.S. troops, a brigade of French troops and a Pol­ish brigade also serve in the com­mand. Ten of the 14 provin­cial recon­struc­tion teams in the area are staffed by Amer­i­cans. The Czech Repub­lic mans the team in Log­ar, New Zealand oper­ates the team in Bamyan, Turkey han­dles War­dak, and South Korea has troops at the team in Par­wan.

Region­al Com­mand South West is the next-largest com­mand, with 27,000 troops. The com­mand cov­ers Hel­mand and Nim­roz provinces, with most of the troops in Hel­mand. Marines pro­vide most of the Amer­i­can man­pow­er in the region, and they work close­ly with British forces there. Den­mark and Geor­gia also have forces in the area. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Mills com­mands from his head­quar­ters in Lashkar Gah.

With 11,000 troops, Region­al Com­mand North is keep­ing watch on an area that is expe­ri­enc­ing a growth in Tal­iban activ­i­ty. Com­mand­ed by Ger­man army Maj. Gen. Hans-Wern­er Fritz in Mazar‑e Sharif, the com­mand has a smor­gas­bord of nation­al­i­ties. The Ger­mans work seam­less­ly with Nor­we­gians, Swedes, Hun­gar­i­ans and Turks. U.S. forces are based in the area as part of the Afghan army and police train­ing effort.

The Ital­ians com­mand Region­al Com­mand West, based in Heart. The 9,000 coali­tion troops cov­er an area stretch­ing from the mid­dle of the coun­try to the bor­der with Iran. Span­ish, Lithuan­ian and Amer­i­can troops are the main­stays under the com­mand of Ital­ian Brig. Gen. Clau­dio Berto.

Final­ly, Region­al Com­mand Cap­i­tal encom­pass­es the area in and around the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kab­ul. Turk­ish Brig. Gen. Lev­ent Colak com­mands the 5,000-member com­mand, which is basi­cal­ly Turk­ish and Span­ish. The com­mand has been turn­ing over secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty to Afghan forces over the past cou­ple of months, but the Afghans still work under the guid­ance and men­tor­ship of the com­mand.

After the Unit­ed States, the coun­try with the largest num­ber of troops with ISAF is the Unit­ed King­dom with 9,500, fol­lowed by Ger­many with 4,590. France is next with 3,750, fol­lowed by Italy with 3,400, Cana­da with 2,830, Poland with 2,630, Roma­nia with 1,760, Turkey with 1,740, Spain with 1,555, and Aus­tralia with 1,455.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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