NATO chief: Afghanistan to start assuming security responsibilities next year

08:20, September 01, 2010      

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NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said here Tuesday the Afghan government would begin taking charge of its country's security in 2011.

Based on a tentative schedule, Kabul would fully take over security responsibilities by 2014, as envisioned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said the NATO chief at a joint press conference with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.

Fogh Rasmussen voiced the hope the restive Asian country would have 300,000 trained soldiers in 2011.

"The process is not ruled by a timetable," Fogh Rasmussen cautioned, saying the schedule depended on how well the Afghan army's ability progressed.

The alliance would make its decision on the timeframe at a summit to be held in Lisbon in November, he said.

The Danish prime minister also expressed support for the 2014 target, but did not reveal any plan to withdraw Danish troops, which have recorded more than 30 deaths.

Commenting on the mounting death toll in Afghanistan, Loekke Rasmussen said the increase stemmed from NATO's military buildup. "We're seeing more battles, and therefore more losses," he said.

Some NATO countries have already announced their withdrawal plans, and Holland started in early August to pull out its forces.

Source: Xinhua


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