ISAF Deploys Quick Reaction Force in Afghanistan
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jun. 29, 2005 NATO's International Security Assistance Force deployed its Quick Reaction Force to the area of the Farah provincial reconstruction team in western Afghanistan, an ISAF spokesman said during a news briefing at ISAF headquarters here today.
Canadian Lt. Col. Karen Tissot Van Patot said the deployment was designed to increase ISAF visibility and awareness in the area.
"These patrols were seen as successful in terms of presenting an increased and deterring military presence in the area of the PRT," she said. "During this deployment, joint patrols were conducted with the (Afghan National Army)."
It is the QRF's first deployment to the western area since ISAF took operational command of the area almost two months ago, she added.
In the last week, ISAF has conducted a number of patrols in its ongoing efforts to defeat the insurgency. The operations are ongoing throughout Kabul, the northern and the western part of the country.
"We remain focused on security," Tissot Van Patot said. "Over the course of the last week, ISAF forces discovered several weapons caches, including one uncovered by the German battle group in Bagram."
The cache uncovered by the Germans included 23 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 40 RPG propelling charges, a pistol, two 82 mm mortar grenades and a machine gun designed to be mounted on an armored or tracked vehicle.
ISAF also provided airlift support to its executive steering committee to allow the committee to see two PRTs at work - one operated by Combined Forces Command Afghanistan and one operated by ISAF.
"PRTs are key catalysts in the regions of Afghanistan in which they operate," Tissot Van Patot said. "They ensure a stable environment and allow the effective extension of the government of Afghanistan."
In other news here, Afghanistan is four days into voter registration for its September election, and the response has been "overwhelming," said U.S. Army Col. Jim Yonts, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman. More than 73,000 Afghans have registered to vote so far, he said.
"Remarkably, despite a range of challenges -- from sandstorms to cancelled flights, to flooded rivers cutting off access to some voter registration stations -- the joint electoral management body managed to open in all but 25 of 720 voter registration locations," Yonts said.
Afghan police fought back an attack for several hours June 25 by gunmen at a voter registration center in Dila in Afghanistan's Paktika province. There were no casualties among the voters or the electoral staff, he said.