The Vital Role of Alliances in the Global War on Terrorism

Report Homeland Security

The Vital Role of Alliances in the Global War on Terrorism

October 24, 2002 35 min read Download Report

Authors: Balbina Hwang and Paolo Pasicolan

If Washington manages both impending military action against Iraq and the ongoing war on terrorism in the same manner, international accusations of "unilateralism"1 should fade. Were the United States truly acting unilaterally, it would be pursuing solely American national interests, and no other country would participate. But as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has observed, if one leads and the cause is right, over time others will follow.2 In the war on terror, the United States has not had to go it alone. Washington leads a "coalition of the willing" that includes not only its allies, but many other countries that share its objectives.

Indeed, as detailed in the appendix, 136 countries have offered the U.S.-led war varying forms of military assistance, and some 20 nations have deployed a combined 16,000 troops for operations in Central Asia. The sky above Afghanistan is patrolled by some 40 fighter aircraft from five countries, while the Arabian Gulf has some 80 ships from 15 countries. Afghanistan is rid of al-Qaeda, and beyond Afghanistan almost every country in the world has enacted legal and administrative measures to combat terrorism, improve border and airline security, and empower law enforcement agencies to investigate and arrest suspected terrorists. Many countries also have taken steps to thwart terrorist financing.

America's close cooperation with its formal treaty allies paid especially great dividends. The United Kingdom sent 3,600 military personnel and provided the largest naval task force, including one destroyer, two frigates, and one missile-armed submarine among other vessels. Australia deployed some 1,550 soldiers and sent the 16th Air Defense Regiment that includes four F-18 Hornet fighter jets and two Boeing 707 aerial refueling tankers. Japan has expanded beyond the traditional confines of its constitution, enacting new legislation to enable its Maritime Self Defense Forces to contribute directly to the operations in the Arabian Gulf. Tokyo ultimately authorized the deployment of 1,200 military personnel, three destroyers, two supply ships and six C-130 transport aircraft, among other contributions.

The strong U.S. stance against Iraq is following a similar pattern of criticism and charges of unilateralism that belie the global objectives at stake. Every responsible member of the international community understands the dangers that Saddam Hussein poses. Yet most will defer to U.S. leadership and its efforts to achieve a more stable and secure world. Once again, just as in the war against terrorism, the United States will lead a coalition of the willing, comprised most prominently of its formal allies. Britain and Australia have already formally indicated that they would be willing to send ground troops to support any U.S. action in Iraq. Several other countries, like Spain, Italy, and the Philippines, have softened their initial opposition and have offered conditional support.3

The alliance lesson learned during the global war on terrorism should not be lost on policymakers and governments discussing a possible military action against Iraq. To incapacitate an informal network like al-Qaeda required swift action, which precluded a multilateral response decided by consensus. Washington led a coalition of the willing rather than a combined operation under the auspices of an international organization, and America's formal treaty allies have been the most productive members of this coalition because alliances are founded on shared values and congruent security interests.

Many have argued that the need for formal alliance partners is redundant in today's environment because the traditional Cold War threats of invasions or military attacks by third-party states lessened when the Soviet Union's fall ended the Cold War. But September 11 and the new security environment that has ensued demonstrate that alliances are critical for confronting the emergent threat from non-state actors like al-Qaeda, whose tentacles extend across 60 countries. The United States should therefore reinforce its formal alliances with the goal of consolidating resources, stepping up cooperative efforts, and coordinating plans for a wide array of future threats.

The GLOBAL Response to Terrorism

President George Bush announced before a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, that the "war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." In effect, the President declared two wars: a general war to eradicate global terrorism and a specific one to dismantle the core leadership of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Both wars have elicited substantial international participation.

Almost every country has enacted legal and administrative measures to combat terrorism, improving border and airline security and empowering law enforcement agencies with greater powers to investigate and arrest suspected terrorists. Canada, for example, enacted anti-terrorism laws that designate and define terrorist groups and activities. It invested over $289 million on immediate measures to counteract terrorist activities, including enhanced policing, security, and intelligence. Austria established an interdepartmental working group that incorporates its Departments of Interior, Finance, and Justice. Singapore formally outlawed Osama bin Laden and established a National Security Secretariat to "develop a more coherent and integrated approach to ensuring Singapore's national security,"4 including battling terrorism. Other nations have enacted similar measures.5

Beyond securing national borders, many countries also have helped thwart terrorist financing, which is perhaps the most difficult element of the terrorist infrastructure to dismantle. Some 142 countries have issued orders to freeze terrorist assets; consequently, over $33 million in assets of at least 153 known terrorist individuals and organizations has been frozen outside the United States. General Counsel to the U.S. Treasury Department David Aufhauser reports that al-Qaeda no longer has the ability to raise funds efficiently.6

Meanwhile, Operation Enduring Freedom has been successful in ridding Afghanistan of al-Qaeda. After settling in Afghanistan in 1996, bin Laden had established a terrorist training center that trained an estimated 50,000 militants from over 50 countries.7 In a relatively short period, the U.S.-led military offensive destroyed 11 training camps and 39 command sites, incapacitating the al-Qaeda command center. Enduring Freedom also unseated Afghanistan's de facto ruling Taliban government,8 which sponsored al-Qaeda's presence in the country, and established an interim government under Hamid Karzai. On June 13, Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, or grand tribal council, elected Karzai president.

The Value of Alliances

America's formal treaty allies are the countries most likely to participate in an international coalition of the willing led by the United States for achieving global aims. While any country that has offered support since September 11 to the global war on terrorism has been called an ally, only 23 countries are formally obligated by treaty to defend the United States from an armed attack. These treaty allies include Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and the 18 countries that belong to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).9

America's existing alliances were established formally after World War II, primarily to deter invasion by third-party nation states. An allied bloc of countries mutually obligated to defend one another, like NATO, significantly raises the cost for an aggressor to invade. That is why, in NATO's 50 years of existence, no member of has ever been the victim of an invasion or military attack.

In Asia, a network of bilateral alliances, along with the presence of U.S. troops, has maintained relative peace in a region rife with historical animosities. Although North Korea invaded the South in 1950, the United States and its allies launched a swift counteroffensive to restore the partition along the 38th Parallel. The presence of U.S. troops along the border ever since then has kept this volatile regime in check, providing South Korea with the security necessary to cultivate an economy that has grown 21-fold since then. Furthermore, the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-Australia alliances--respectively, the "northern pillar" and "southern pillar" of security--are the foundations of security, prosperity, and democracy in East Asia.

An alliance can be as symbolic as it is functional. A formal treaty embodies shared values and congruent national interests. For America and its allies, it symbolizes a commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and free market capitalism. No matter how situations and paradigms change, shared values make it likely that allies will pursue a similar course of action for the same reasons. Hence, America's best weapon against the unexpected is its alliances.

the role of Alliances In the New Security Environment

September 11 reemphasized the relevance of alliances and expanded both their scope and nature. The countries of NATO quickly invoked Article 5 of the NATO Treaty,10 recognizing the terrorist attacks as an attack not only against the United States, but against NATO as well. This treaty mechanism was the necessary first step for a collective military mobilization under the aegis of NATO.

The United States eventually declined the option of a collective operation, choosing instead to lead a coalition of the willing. Australia also invoked the mutual self-defense clause of the Security Treaty Between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States,11 despite the fact that there was no formal declaration of war. Other allies responded as if they had invoked their articles of mutual self-defense without formally doing so. For instance, Japan expanded beyond the traditional confines of its constitution to allow new legislation enabling its Maritime Self Defense Forces to contribute directly to the operations in the Arabian Gulf.

September 11 is certainly the first instance in which treaty allies have invoked articles of mutual self-defense following an attack by a non-state entity. This means that America's allies have expanded the kind of event that triggers a military response to include non-state threats to sovereignty. Concomitantly, there is an implicit expectation that the United States would do the same in a similar instance.

As the sole superpower with the most powerful military force in history, the United States is most vulnerable to unconventional modes of military attack or asymmetric warfare. These include tactics like guerilla warfare, conventional terrorism, and cyberterrorism. The desire to exploit this vulnerability guided the formation of al-Qaeda, a loose but extensive network of networks whose cells operate independently of one another, often unbeknownst to each other. Al-Qaeda deployed operatives, stored weapons caches, and set up bank accounts in many different countries to avoid detection and penetration.

Al-Qaeda is arguably the first organization to recognize America's military dominance and reorient its goals accordingly. Unlike a rival state power, al-Qaeda does not seek to invade the United States from without or overthrow its government from within. It does not even intend to diminish directly America's economic or military might. Al-Qaeda aims to injure American citizens and their values in order to extort Washington into inaction and ultimately a withdrawal from international affairs.

This limited objective allows al-Qaeda to pursue an unlimited array of methods to achieve success. Its structure, hierarchy, and methods make it difficult for the United States to defend against, let alone exterminate, it single-handedly. In many ways, al-Qaeda is the archetype for other groups or organizations with goals that conflict with the national interests of the United States.

Asymmetric threats from such a nebulous organization will require the United States to look beyond its borders. These threats are more difficult to anticipate than conventional threats; therefore, preparing adequate defenses and deterrence is even more problematic. Terrorist organizations operate in several countries to exploit the lack of coordination between and among countries, as well as within a sovereign country's own law enforcement agencies. For example, European Union countries have expressed their reluctance to extradite criminal suspects to the United States because of its death penalty, and terrorists may take advantage of such disagreements.

Intelligence sharing is a long-term solution to this problem. An unprecedented number of countries offered intelligence assistance to the United States after September 11. Even Russia provided the United States with at least 100 comprehensive intelligence reports after September 11. This level of intelligence cooperation is probably unsustainable; it is also ultimately undesirable because extensive international intelligence sharing is susceptible to leaks that terrorist organizations can easily exploit. In 1998, the United States launched cruise missiles at targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in an attempt to eliminate top al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden; but the attack came three hours too late, and senior U.S. officials suspect that Pakistani intelligence had tipped off bin Laden.12

The middle ground on this issue is for America to bolster intelligence ties with a core network of countries that have similar intelligence needs and objectives as well as an equal stake in preserving intelligence security. The foundation of such a network should inevitably start with America's treaty allies.

An Alliance-Based Approach

There are currently two wars on terrorism: the general war to eradicate all forms of terrorism and the specific war to dismantle the core leadership of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The general war on terrorism will not succeed without significant participation from the international community.

Unlike the general campaign to eradicate terrorism worldwide, however, Operation Enduring Freedom is not a global coalition of equal partners. As the primary target of the September 11 attacks, the United States is leading the war effort. In all likelihood, Washington would have launched a massive military operation against al-Qaeda even without vast international support. While a majority of the U.N. General Assembly supports U.S. action in Afghanistan, Enduring Freedom is not an official U.N. operation like the Korean War or Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

The United States was able to rely heavily on a few select countries, particularly its formal allies, for the main military operations in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. And those countries that participated in the operation did not hesitate to defer to U.S. control of the operations. The success thus far of the war on terrorism, therefore, has provided a blueprint for future allied operations. As the primary victim of the September 11 attacks, the United States led that operation. Had Australia been attacked, for example, the United States would have offered its vast military arsenal; but it would have recognized Canberra's right to lead and decide the manner in which to execute the military response.

While some criticize U.S. action as unilateral, it is rather an exhibition of real leadership from a country that was not only the primary target of the terrorism, but also the most powerful and best equipped to lead the charge. The valuable role of America's allies during this time of hurried action shows that the system of bilateral alliances is well- suited to address the new global security environment, providing critical flexibility to complement U.S. leadership.

Bilateral alliances thus have provided the United States with an immediate and great pool of resources, without the excess deliberation and consultation required of organizations that require a consensus or even a majority vote. America's system of bilateral alliances in Asia is well-suited to prosecute the war on terrorism. Alliance commitments give the United States flexibility to request specific contributions from particular allies; and in turn, they can contribute according to their capabilities and to the degree to which their national interests coincide with U.S. actions. For example, Australia sent a detachment from its 16th Air Defense Regiment while Japan provided logistical support in the form of refueling ships and fuel, because of constitutional restrictions that limit its participation in offensive military operations.

Asia's security environment is sometimes characterized as unstable or insecure because the region lacks a formal multilateral security institution such as the mutual defense pact of NATO. While such a collective defense organization has been successful in maintaining peace in Europe for the last half century, U.S. forward presence--entrenched in the series of formal bilateral alliances it maintains with several key players in Asia13--has prevented wars in this region. Perhaps more significantly, faced with the unanticipated insecurities of a new security environment, these bilateral alliances will provide the cornerstone of future stability and prosperity.

Strengthening U.S. Alliances

Given the demands of the global war on terrorism, the United States should maintain and strengthen its formal alliances, especially those in Asia, by taking concrete steps to:

  • Increase interoperability with alliance partners. The backbone of a successful alliance is effective interoperability, or the degree to which alliance partners can operate together militarily to achieve a common goal. While a formal alliance commitment implies a certain structure of interoperability, the maintenance of these functions requires constant attention and effort. Specifically, these areas include standardization, integration, cooperation, and synergy between U.S. military forces and those of its allied partners. Thus, the U.S. Department of Defense, along with its counterparts in allied countries, should prioritize the meaningful contributions of allied partners by continuing to work at harmonizing interests and goals at the strategic, operational, tactical, and technological levels.
  • Strengthen domestic support for the alliances in the United States and abroad. A challenge to the future vitality of U.S. bilateral alliances, particularly in Asia, will be the need to sustain domestic support for these critical relationships at home and abroad. As the global security environment continues to change, alliance partners must be committed to making a strong case for the ongoing necessity of the alliance to their domestic constituencies. Leaders in the United States and allied governments must focus on building and maintaining popular support, paying attention to domestic audiences and justifying the sacrifices that alliance maintenance requires. This focus will mean launching concerted campaigns of public diplomacy to further these goals. For example, the U.S. administration should work more closely with alliance partners to ease the impact that an overseas U.S. force presence has on the local communities.
  • Strengthen relations among U.S. alliance partners. The future of stability and prosperity in Asia will continue to depend on the structure of alliances that exists between the United States and key players in the region, such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Nevertheless, the United States should not rely solely on its formal bilateral relationships. Rather, it should work to broaden this network by pursuing a hub-and-spokes system of alliances. It should encourage the strengthening of relations between and among its varied allied partners. For example, Japan and South Korea should be encouraged to cooperate with each other, as should Japan and Australia, and Australia and South Korea. Such a networked system is the only reliable weapon with which the United States and its allies can successfully deter or do battle with the asymmetric threats of the future.


In a speech given during a campaign stop in Simi Valley, California, on November 19, 1999, then-candidate George W. Bush proclaimed that

Alliances are not just for crises summoned into action when the fire bell sounds. They are sustained by contact and trust.... [T]o be relied upon when needed, our allies must be respected when they are not.

Strengthening America's alliance relationships in Asia does not mean that the United States must rely solely on them or get their permission before acting to preserve its vital national interests. Rather, given the lack of multilateral security organizations in Asia, the key to U.S. leadership in Asia to promote stability and prosperity is working through its formal alliances.

The flexibility and dependability of alliances is precisely what the United States requires to combat and vanquish asymmetric threats that will continue to arise in the post-September 11 environment, and will be key to a successful strategy in Iraq. Unswerving alliance support also will provide justification for the effort in Iraq in answer to charges of unilateralist U.S. foreign policy.

--Paolo Pasicolan is a Policy Analyst, and Balbina Y. Hwang is Policy Analyst for Northeast Asia, in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.

Allied Contributions to the War on Terrorism


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight rights.
  • Offered airports and seaports for refueling and maintenance support.

National measures:

  • Improved the monitoring of borders and airports and the circulation of money in the banking system.


Military contribution:

  • Offered "unreserved assistance" to the global coalition.


Financial contribution:

  • Contributed $329 million to European Union (EU) operations in Afghanistan.

Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight rights.
  • Shared intelligence.

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) contribution:

  • Sent 60-75 soldiers (worth $3.9 million).

Humanitarian assistance:

  • $1 million in emergency aid in Afghanistan.
  • Established donation campaign for Afghan refugees, the proceeds of which will be doubled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Gave 10 scholarships to Afghan women.
  • Extended the route network of Austrian Airlines to include Kabul.

National measures:

  • Created a financial market intelligence unit to enhance enforcement of money-laundering laws.
  • Established an interdepartmental working group (involving the Ministries of Finance, Interior, and Justice) to focus on combating terrorism.


Military contribution:

  • Committed and deployed 1,550 soldiers to coalition force.

--Cost of deployment of troops to Afghanistan reportedly $320 million; additional $19 million reportedly spent to intercept asylum seekers.

--Deployment of troops is said to cost $5 million per day.

Air support

--A detachment from the 16th Air Defense Regiment.

--4 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.

--2 Boeing 707 aerial refueling tanker.

Naval support

--3 guided missile frigates supporting naval operations and conducting maritime interception operations in the Arabian Gulf to enforce sanctions on Iraq.

--1 amphibious transport command and control platform.

--2 P3-C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft.

Miscellaneous contributions:

  • $53,370 donation to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fund to combat nuclear terrorism.
  • 30 Labrador puppies to the U.S. for bomb-detection training.


Military contribution:

  • Granted unconditional overflight rights and the use of airbases.
  • Shared intelligence.

ISAF contribution:

  • Will provide military forces.


National measures:

  • Froze bank accounts belonging to a trust the beneficiaries of which include the name of one individual listed by the United States as a suspected terrorist.


Military contribution:

  • Sent 1 liaison officer to Central Command (Centcom).

Naval support

  • Serves as the home base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
  • 1 frigate to escort aid vessels for Afghanistan.


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight rights and the use of airports and seaports.


Military contribution:

  • Sent 1 officer to the Coalition Intelligence Center (CIC) at Centcom.
  • Sent 1 officer at the Regional Air Movement Control Center as deputy chief of operations.
  • Sent 4 officers to Tinker AFB to support Operation Noble Eagle.

ISAF contribution:

  • 1 C-130 transport aircraft (including 25 aircrew and maintenance personnel).

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Contributed 1 C-130 and 1 A-310 support aircraft to deliver humanitarian assistance.
  • Led largest humanitarian assistance mission, providing 198,413 pounds of food to starving children.


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight rights.
  • Shared intelligence.
  • Offered basing on request and provided basing for 6 KC-135 aerial refueling craft.

ISAF contribution:

  • Sent a 40-person nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) decontamination unit.

Miscellaneous contributions:

  • Offered

--2 TMM heavy mechanized bridges.

--2 BAT bulldozers.

--2 E-305 BV excavators.

--50 1KW generator sets.

--50 1-45KW generator sets.

--50 8-30KW generator sets.

--1 MAFS filtration system.

--6 ZIL-131 trucks.


Financial contribution:

  • Invested $7.7 billion to combat terrorism at home and abroad.

Military contribution:

  • Sent 2,100 soldiers (1,100 land, 200 air, and 800 naval personnel) immediately; to date, 3,400 personnel have been deployed, including 1,000-man light infantry unit on seven days' notice.
  • Sent 61 liaison officers to Centcom.

Air support

--1 CC-150 Polaris long-range transport aircraft and 3 CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft conducted strategic and tactical airlifts, moving 10.4 million pounds of freight.

--Unspecified number of helicopters (930 missions flown, 2,900 hours logged).

Naval support

--Canadian Naval Forces conducting maritime interception operations, leadership interdiction operations, escort duties, and maritime surveillance in the Arabian Gulf.

--7 ships deployed (October 2001 to April 2002).

--Canadian Naval Task Group includes 2 frigates, 1 destroyer, 1 supply ship, 1 frigate integrated in the U.S. Carrier Battle Group.

--2 CP140 Aurora aircraft employed as part of the U.S. Carrier Task Force 57 (84 missions and 746 flight hours logged).

Ground support

--Unspecified number of Special Operations forces.

--Light Infantry Battle Group (828 personnel and 12 Coyote armored reconnaissance vehicles) deployed to Kandahar for combat and security operations.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • $16 million.
  • Long-range patrol detachment for humanitarian drops.
  • 2 CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

National measures:

  • Invested $289 million on immediate measures including enhanced policing, security, and intelligence.
  • Redeployed over 2,000 federal police officers to national security duties.
  • Invested $7.7 billion over the next five years to improve border security.
  • Continued joint participation in North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and made unspecified number of CF-18 fighter jets available to patrol U.S.-Canadian airspace.
  • Signed Joint Statement of Cooperation on Border Security and Regional Migration Issues with the United States (December 3, 2001).
  • Integrated Canadian officials within the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force.
  • Developing common biometric identifiers for documents.
  • Developing joint units to assess information on incoming passengers.
  • Expanded Integrated Border Enforcement Teams.
  • Enacted anti-terrorism legislation

--Anti-Terrorism Act Defined and designated terrorist groups and activities; tougher sentencing; made it easier to use electronic surveillance.

--Public Safety Act.

--Amendments to the Aeronautics Act to improve airport security.

  • Cut off terrorist funding.

--Froze $344,000 worth of funds associated with 100 individuals and groups designated by the United Nations.

--Invested $63 million to expand capacity to identify terrorist funding.

Miscellaneous contributions:

  • Accepted 224 diverted planes carrying more than 33,000 passengers on September 11.


Military contribution:

  • Shared intelligence.

National measures:

  • Strictly enforced anti-money-laundering laws.
  • Revising regulations governing cash management to set up system for reporting suspicious cash transactions.
  • Developing a center to oversee financial transactions and payments to prevent money laundering.


National measures:

  • Took action against suspected financiers of terrorism.
  • Proposed a new anti-terrorism bill (currently in Colombian Congress).

Czech Republic

Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight and basing rights.
  • Sent 4 officers to Centcom.
  • Sent 251 personnel to Camp Doha, Kuwait, to perform local training.
  • 1 TU-154 transport aircraft (45 missions, transporting 733 persons and 11 tons of cargo).
  • Donated 1,000 military uniforms to the Afghan National Army.

ISAF contribution:

  • Runs 6th Field Hospital (including 150 personnel) to provide medical support to ISAF.


Military contribution:

  • Sent 5 liaison officers to Centcom.
  • Sent 30 soldiers to area of responsibility.
  • 1 C-130 transport aircraft (including 77 crew and support personnel).
  • 1 F-16 fighter jet; 4 available upon request.
  • Sent 100 Special Operations forces under U.S. command.


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight and basing rights.
  • Offered seaports to support maritime interdiction operations (MIO).
  • Will send 1 liaison officer to Centcom.
  • Offered French Level III medical facilities if needed.


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight rights.
  • Sent 2 liaison officers to Centcom.


Military contribution:

  • Sent 2 liaison officers to Centcom.


Military contribution:

  • Granted unconditional overflight and landing rights.
  • Sent 2 explosive-detection dog teams for airbase operations.
  • Offered 10 cargo handlers as part of Danish contingent.


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight and basing rights.
  • Sent an unspecified number of liaison officers to Centcom.


Military contribution:

  • Sent an unspecified number of liaison officers to Centcom.

ISAF contribution:

  • Sent a civil military cooperation (CiMiC) unit (50 officers).

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Pledged $9.5 million annually for the next three years (Tokyo Donors Conference).
  • Sent 50 special civilian and military cooperation units, including liaison officers, to coordinate humanitarian assistance.


Military contribution:

  • Granted overflight rights, airbase, and harbor access.

Shared intelligence.

  • Sent 4,200 total personnel.
  • Sent 15 liaison officers to Centcom.
  • Sent 2 officers to serve as air coordinators at Regional Air Movement Control Center.

Air support

--6 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft.

--2 KC-135 aerial refueling craft.

--2 C-160 transport aircraft.

--2 MPA Atlantique-2 surveillance aircraft.

Naval support

--1 aircraft carrier, including 28 aircraft.

--Task Group of 1 guided missile destroyer, 1 nuclear attack submarine, 2 frigates, 1 oiler, and 3,500 personnel.

--Maritime intelligence of 1 landing platform dock (LPD), 1 frigate, 1 corvette, 2 support ships.

--Minesweeping team of 2 minesweepers, 1 support ship.

ISAF contribution:

  • Sent 1 battalion, 500 men.
  • Sent 501 Special Forces and mine clearance specialists.
  • Sent 1 squad Special Forces for U.N. General Secretary special protection.
  • Sent 1 squad French officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) to train the Afghan 1st Battalion.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Sent 240 soldiers to Mazar-e-sharif for humanitarian operations.
  • Upgrading Kabul Medical Institute (500 personnel).


Military contribution:

  • Sent a total of 2,800 military personnel.

Ground support

--1 nuclear, biological, and chemical unit equipped with Fuchs armored reconnaissance vehicles.

Naval support

--3 frigates.

--5 fast patrol boats.

--4 supply ships.

--2 helicopters.

Air support

--1 A-310 transport craft as "flying hospital."

--Unspecified number of airborne warning and control system (AWACS) crew.

Training of Afghan police force

--Kabul Multinational Brigade of 1 commander, 1 battalion-sized infantry task force, and an unspecified number of combat support troops.

ISAF contribution:

  • Sent 700 soldiers; 1,200 available.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Pledged $69.4 million in 2002 and a total of $278 million for reconstruction efforts in the next four years.
  • Donated $9.4 million to train and equip the Afghan police force.
  • Hosted Bonn Conference, which established the Interim Authority in Afghanistan.

National measures:

  • Passed new anti-terrorism legislation, including $1.3 billion in funding to give security and law enforcement agencies more power to obtain information, to increase air-traffic security, to tighten laws governing private associations to increase authorities' powers to act on extremist organizations, and to allow the prosecution in Germany of terrorist activities in foreign countries.
  • Assigned over 500 officers to a special commission investigating the September 11 attacks.
  • Froze over 200 bank accounts containing more than $4 million total.
  • Set up an independent unit within the Federal Criminal Police Office responsible for the surveillance of suspicious financial flows.
  • Required banks to set up internal security system.
  • Required banks to use an electronic data processing system to ensure that clients are properly screened.


Military contribution:

  • Provided basing; Greek Naval Base and Airbase Souda, Crete, have been used as forward sites.

Air support

--Sent 1 Air Force officer to Regional Air Movement Control Center.

--Offered 2 unspecified vessels and an unspecified number of Air Force sorties.

Naval support

--1 frigate (including 1 S-70 BA Aegean Hawk helicopter, 1 special forces team, and 210 crew).

--1 frigate, 1 minesweeper.

--Sent 1 Navy liaison officer assigned to Bahrain.

ISAF contribution:

  • Deployed 1 Greek Engineer Company (64 engineering vehicles, 112 men).
  • 2 C-130 transport aircraft (including 56 security personnel).
  • Sent an unspecified number of officers assigned to ISAF HQ in Britain and Kabul.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Participated in Tokyo conference on rebuilding Afghanistan.


Military contribution:

  • Assigned 1 frigate to escort ships through the Straits of Malacca.
  • Offered ports and shipyards for calls and repairs.
  • Offered to allow troops and equipment on a temporary basis.
  • Offered aerial refueling assistance if necessary.


National measures:

  • Enhanced aviation security.


Military contribution:

  • Sent a total of 2,700 soldiers, including up to 1,000 ground troops.

Air support

--Unspecified number of Harrier jump jets.

--1 C-130 transport aircraft.

--1 Boeing 707.

Naval support

--Aircraft carrier Garibaldi.

--1 frigate

--De La Penne Group (1 destroyer and 1 frigate).

--Sent 1 Engineer Team (43 people) to repair Bagram airport runway.

ISAF contribution:

  • Sent 400 personnel.
  • 3 C-130 transport aircraft.
  • 1 Boeing 707 transport aircraft.
  • 1 AN-124 transport aircraft.
  • 1 IL-76 transport aircraft.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • $33 million.

National measures

  • Froze 20 bank accounts of suspected terrorist individuals or groups.


Military contribution:

  • 3 destroyers, 2 supply ship Tokiwa, 700 crew (75 at-sea replenishments, 34 million gallons of F-76 fuel).
  • 6 C-130 transport aircraft (51 missions, 166 sorties, 773 tons of cargo, 123 passengers), unspecified number of U-4 transport aircraft.
  • 1,200 military personnel.
  • Provided 183,000 kiloliters of fuel worth $31.5 million.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • $42 million Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) package to the government of Afghanistan.
  • $143.59 million to U.N. programs devoted to Afghanistan.
  • Hosted Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction Assistance and pledged $500 million over the next 2.5 years.

National measures:

  • Expanded the constraints of the constitution and passed the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law to allow Maritime Self Defense Forces to participate in the war on terrorism (recently approved a six-month extension).
  • Froze the assets of 334 individuals or groups suspected of terrorist ties.


Military contribution:

  • Offered overflight and basing.
  • 1 Aardvark mine-clearing unit.

Humanitarian assistance:

  • Ad


Balbina Hwang
Balbina Hwang

Former Senior Policy Analyst

Paolo Pasicolan

Policy Analyst