Some foreign troops to stay beyond 2014: Gen. Jacobson
ISAF spokesman Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson told journalists in Kabul it would be premature to give a specific number of the soldiers who would stay in the country.
In a recent interview with a foreign news agency, President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman said Afghanistan wanted the United States to clearly spell out what sort of military presence it would leave behind once most of its combat troops left.
Aimal Faizi said they were pressing Washington in talks over future cooperation to be more forthcoming on what would be on offer for Afghan forces as they readied to shoulder the security responsibility.
“These are issues that concern us. We want to know how many bases will be there, how many soldiers and what will be their mission. And what will we get from the United States for our security forces,” Faizi added.
Commenting on the issue, Jacobson said he had read Faizi’s remarks and the questions he raised concerned the proposed strategic cooperation agreement between Afghanistan and the US. He hoped the questions would be answered once the deal was signed.
About ISAF’s military role post 2014, he said the mission would mostly remain focused on training Afghan security forces and military trainers. Any cooperation from ISAF would come in coordination and consultation with the Afghan government, he explained.
Also present on the occasion, the NATO senior civilian representative’s spokesman said three issues would be discussed at the Chicago summit -- member nations’ commitments to Afghanistan during security transition and beyond, the ability of Afghan forces to secure the country’s borders and the struggle to deal with challenges of the 21st century.
At Chicago, Dominick Medley said, the alliance would confirm the strong partnership which it wanted with Afghanistan long after transition was completed.
In addition to the Chicago meeting, he added, there were a number of opportunities where the consultations on what international forces would look like in Afghanistan after 2014 would become clearer.
In just over two weeks time, a meeting of foreign and defence ministers from all 50 countries in ISAF -- including Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak -- will be held at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
“It’s important to note that the international community, in partnership with Afghanistan, has invested a tremendous amount of resources in the fields of development, humanitarian assistance, governance and security over the last ten years,” he remarked.
After 2014, the spokesman said, Afghanistan would still receive a considerable amount of humanitarian, development and governance support. “What's important is that the joint efforts, the progress and achievements that have been made to date are not put at risk and are not in vain and that's why NATO is determined to see that jointly with Afghanistan and the international community a strong commitment still remains to Afghanistan in all the fields…”
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