Transition an important part of long-term commitment to Afghanistan: Clinton
WASHINGTON (PAN): The US welcomed the announcement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai of seven areas which would be transferred to the security control of Afghan forces in July.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said the announcement advances the vision for transition agreed at the NATO summit in Lisbon in November, and was an integral part of the US and its allies continued support for Afghanistan.
“Transition is an essential pillar of the US, NATO, and international community’s long-term commitment to Afghanistan,” Clinton said in a statement following the announcement.
“The United States continues to support the Afghan people as they work to build a more stable and peaceful nation and we remain committed to the goal of a region that is free from Al Qaeda and no longer a safe haven for international terrorism,” she said.
The US looks forward to troop reductions starting in July and continuing based on conditions on the ground, with the transition to be completed by the end of 2014, Clinton said.
“As we have long said, the Afghans themselves must take responsibility for their own future – for providing security, for strengthening governance, and for reaching a political solution to the conflict,” she said.
As part of that commitment, Clinton said NATO and the Afghan government signed an Enduring Partnership Declaration in Lisbon and that the US is also currently negotiating a bilateral Strategic Partnership Declaration with Afghanistan.
“This new partnership will contribute to building up Afghanistan’s capacity and institutions, as well as to improved economic and political relations between Afghanistan and its neighbours well beyond 2014,” she said.
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