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NATO chief says violence not affecting Afghan transition

(Xinhua)

08:15, February 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday that violence in Afghanistan would not affect the planned transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces, laying emphasis on the cooperation between coalition and Afghan forces.

Addressing a press conference in Washington, the secretary general denounced the recent killing of four U.S. servicemembers by Afghans in violence that erupted in the South Asian nation over the burning of copies of Quran by American soldiers.

"The very tragic events will not in any way affect the timeline of transition" for security from coalition to Afghan forces, he said.

"I remind you that 130,000 ISAF troops work on a daily basis together with more than 300,000 Afghan security forces, and the overall picture is of cooperation characterized by trust and confidence," he remarked.

In addition to fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan, the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force is helping train Afghan military and police to make way for its eventual withdrawal from the country by 2014.

"It would actually fulfill the strongest wishes of the enemy, if they succeeded in dividing us from our partners in the Afghan security forces, and that will not happen," the NATO chief said.

"We must not lose sight of our goal -- a stable Afghanistan," he added. "That is in all of our interests and that must remain the focus of our shared efforts."

He noted that when NATO leaders meet in May in Chicago, they will follow up on major decisions made at the Lisbon summit in November 2010, including the commitment to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan.

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