No shift in policy on Afghan combat role: US
In a statement, the embassy said consultations were ongoing about how to implement the transition. “It is natural that those consultations would include the issue of how we shift to a support role as the Afghan security forces move into the lead,” it said.
The statement said the consultations would continue until the Chicago Summit, where leaders will determine the next phase of the transition.
On Wednesday, the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the US and other international forces in Afghanistan expected to end their combat role in 2013 and continue training and advisory role with Afghan forces through 2014.
The 2010 NATO summit in Portugal had discussed the war in Afghanistan, with plans to bring combat operations to an end by 2014.
The US would seek to wind down combat operations in Afghanistan during 2013, more than a year before a deadline for withdrawal, the defence secretary said.
Travelling to a NATO summit, Leon Panetta said the US hoped to switch to a training role and supporting Afghan forces. There are currently some 99,000 US troops in the country, with 22,000 scheduled to return home during this year.
The final session of the NATO and ISAF defence ministerial meeting in Brussels will be again on Afghanistan starting at around 10:15 on Friday at NATO headquarters.
It will include representatives from all the 50 ISAF nations and all the contributing nations will be joined by the Afghan Defence Minister Ghulam Farooq Wardak, the ISAF Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, and NATO’s senior civilian representative, ambassador Simon Gass.
The ministers will take stock of the operational situation of the progress made in transition to Afghan security lead, with participants exchanging views on what will happen up to 2014 when Afghan forces will take full control of security beyond 2014.
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