Europe takes on Afghan security

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Troops from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain will lead the force for the next six months.

But the changeover comes amid growing criticism of Nato’s support for the International Security Assistance Force, claimimg it has been too slow in meeting promises for extra troops before October’s presidential election.

The unit, called Eurocorps, replaces Canadian officers who have been leading Isaf, and is its first operation outside Europe since its formation in 1992.

Nato officials now also say that around 40% of the force will be so-called over-the-horizon troops, in other words, based outside Afghanistan.

And most of those in the country will be in barracks in Kabul, rather than being spread around the provinces where security is a greater challenge.

But peacekeeping spokesmen here insist Nato is living up to its commitments.