Funding Afghan army a shared responsibility: US
WASHINGTON (PAN): Funding the Afghan security forces post 2014, when the international forces are scheduled to withdraw from the country, is going to be a shared international resposibility, a Obama administration official said on Thursday.
Details of financing Afghan forces would be worked at the forthcoming NATO Summit in Chicago in May, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told a news conference in Washington.
“In the context of the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, we are working with Afghanistan, we are working with all of the ISAF partners on a long-term programme of support for the Afghan forces,” she said.
“Some of the money to support the security forces is going to come from Afghanistan. Afghanistan will support from its own budget its security forces. But we all expect that there will have to be sizable international contributions as well,” Nuland added.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman was currently travelling to Europe to discuss the issue with allies, she said. “Marc Grossman is now talking to allies about what they might be able to do. We are looking, obviously, at what we might be able to do.”
Hours earlier, President Hamid Karzai said that the US would be providing $4 billion per annum for the next one decade until 2024 to fund Afghan national security forces.
Meanwhile, the White House ruled out any new announcement on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan during the Chicago Summit. “No announcements of further troop withdrawals will come in Chicago, and there are no options currently under consideration.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, told reporters the withdrawal of surge troops would be completed by mid-September and after that 68,000 US soldiers would remain in Afghanistan.
“We are now drawing down those forces that surged into Afghanistan, and that withdrawal will be complete by the middle of September. The president made clear that we will continue to withdraw at a steady pace. However, the specific timetable for that and troop numbers will not be decided until we have finished the current withdrawal,” Carney explained.
He hoped a decision would be taken in Chicago on transferring combat lead to Afghan forces in 2013 as part of the full transition to Afghan security control by the end of 2014.
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