We’ll stay beyond 2014 if Afghans want: Gen. Allen
LASHKARGAH (PAN): International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) top commander in Afghanistan Gen. Johan Allen on Monday said his troops would stay in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline if the Afghans desired so.
During a visit to southern Helmand province, Gen. Allen, accompanied by Afghan High Peace Council deputy head Farhadullah Farhad, met local officials and foreign troops.
After a meeting with Governor Gulab Mangal, the ISAF commander told a press conference in Lashkargah that his visit to the province was aimed at meeting foreign troops and their Afghan counterparts.
He added foreign troops were willing to stay beyond 2014 if the Afghans asked them to do so. Gen. Allen explained their mission was to bring peace and stability to the country and they would continue to assist the Afghans.
The general believed Afghan forces had professionally improved and were able to maintain security for their country on their own. He said the security situation in Helmand had also improved as a result of continued training of Afghan forces.
Earlier, at a meeting with Mangal, Allen praised good governance and peace efforts in the province. “The peace process is going well in this province, where security has improved due to good leadership. Real services are being provided to civilians here.”
However, the governor said though he was not satisfied with the peace process in Helmand. He believed more efforts were required to strengthen the process, saying foreign troops were needed to assist the reconciliation programme.
Mangal urged the international community to make efforts at preserving the progress and development achieved over the past decade.
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