Afghanistan's interim administration will be protected by up to 3,000 peacekeepers from a multi-national force after it takes office in Kabul on Saturday. The British-led force will be disbanded after six months and be restricted to Kabul with a tight rein on the type of work it can do. But analysts said although it had a limited mandate, it would be an integral part of Afghanistan's return to democracy. It represented a neutral force to help the interim cabinet do its duties unimpeded by outside influences. Cabinet members agreed yesterday to the force and United Nations officials are expected to overcome disagreements over a mandate before voting today on a resolution allowing its deployment. The defence minister in the interim administration, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, announced the accord after days of talks with British military representatives. But the general, a commander of the Northern Alliance, which forced the Taleban out of Kabul last month, said the peacekeepers would not be allowed to run Afghanistan's security matters. 'The people of Afghanistan liberated their country by themselves and international forces will come here mainly for the reconstruction of Afghanistan,' he said. 'They will not be here to interfere in people's affairs. Affairs of the Afghan people should be run by Afghans themselves.' A third of the troops would be deployed in security affairs, a further 1,000 would concentrate on medical, engineering and logistics work and the rest would constitute a reserve force probably based at Bagram airport, 50km north of Kabul. The first 100 British Marines are expected in Kabul on Saturday and officials said they would help in security for the inauguration of the new government. But the national make-up of the force has yet to be announced, although up to 16 countries are expected to contribute. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said his country had committed up to 1,500 troops. Other countries likely to be represented are Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the United States. Experts said although the troops would be restricted to Kabul, the six months they would have to work coincided with the life of the incoming administration. Ensuring its security was vital to the country's transition to a broader-based government and subsequent elections. Anwar Ahady, an ethnic Pashtun and the principal advocate of a peacekeeping force at talks between Afghan factions in Bonn last month, said although the low number of peacekeepers was not ideal, it was still adequate for the administration to function. 'It would be too demanding to seek deployment of international peacekeeping forces throughout Afghanistan,' he said from his home in the US state of Rhode Island. 'But I thought that if international forces could be deployed in Kabul itself, at least the new government, if it is protected, within a few months would be able to build to self-sustain the situation, including security forces. Once that happens, it can gradually extend its control over the rest of the country.' Professor Ahady, 50, who teaches political science at Providence College, said between 10,000 and 15,000 peacekeepers would be needed to secure the country. But given the objections to such a move by the Northern Alliance at the Bonn talks and the logistics of such an operation, this was not a viable option. If small numbers of troops were deployed in cities outside Kabul, their own security could not be guaranteed, he said. Professor Ahady - who turned down the job of transport minister in the interim cabinet - admitted there were insufficient forces to ensure the safe deployment of badly needed food and other aid or the return of refugees, but he felt sure safe conditions could be in place within six months. Few refugees would be returning in that time, as it would take time for registration offices to be set up to process them. He did not believe the Northern Alliance was able to provide security. 'The Northern Alliance is not a united force and therefore can not be relied on for security,' he said. 'They are a diverse group of factions who were kept together by their fight against the Taleban and now that they have gone, the Alliance are not so unified with their objectives.'