Parts of Afghanistan to be under local control by next year: Hillary Clinton

16:48, November 08, 2010      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday announced parts of Afghanistan will be under the control of Afghan forces by next year.

Clinton touched down in Australia on Saturday as part of the AUSMIN (Australia-United States Ministerial) meeting, attended by Australian foreign and defense ministers, and the U.S. secretaries of state and defense, on Monday in Melbourne, Australia.

Clinton gave the assessment after the annual AUSMIN meeting, reaffirming the coalition strategy of handing over security to Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

"We are convinced that starting next year there will be parts of Afghanistan that will be under the control of the Afghan government and its security forces," Clinton told reporters in Melbourne.

She said she does not expect the change in the composition of the U.S. congress after the mid-term elections would affect U.S.'s plan to begin drawing part of its troops in Afghanistan.

Clinton also confirmed Australia and U.S. remained committed to Afghanistan, and urged Australians to be patient as the international force works to improve security in Afghanistan.

"We don't want to abandon the people of Afghanistan so we will take this step by step," she said.

Meanwhile, the three-day official visit has largely aim to seek closer ties with Australia on defense, and to enhance the U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific.

Stepping up the the two nation's leadership in the Pacific more generally, must be one of the core goals of this alliance going forward, Clinton told reporters in Melbourne.

Source: Xinhua


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