US eyes accord on size of Afghan forces
WASHINGTON (PAN): The US expects three deliverables on Afghanistan at the NATO summit in Chicago later this month, including agreements on interim milestones in 2013 and on the size and cost of Afghan forces, officials told lawmakers on Thursday.
“The US anticipates three deliverables: an agreement on an interim milestone in 2013 when ISAF's mission will shift from combat to support for Afghan forces, an agreement on the size cost and sustainment of ANSF beyond 2013; and, finally, a roadmap for NATO's post-2014 role in Afghanistan.”
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon, testifying before the Senate Relations Committee on the NATO Summit, said: “Now, the Afghans themselves have already pledged $500 million a year of their own money toward that goal for three years and that amount should rise year by year after that.
“Secretary of Defence Panetta has challenged the rest of ISAF to come up with a billion euros per year -- about $1.3 billion of that $4.1 billion total -- and we have been working very hard at the highest levels of our government to get the rest of the international community to deliver on that pledge,” he added.
At Chicago, NATO would produce its strategic plan for Afghanistan, where it would be trying to deal with numbers of Afghan security forces and describe what its presence was going to look like, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for European and NATO Policy James Townsend said.
“If you talk to Gen. Allen and some of the commanders, we've been pretty impressed with the work of the ANSF -- that they are certainly up to the task of taking the lead in terms of combat, and that we're going to see this transition that you mentioned…” Townsend said.
To a great extent, he said, 2013 was going to be a landmark year. The official said they had seen over the past couple of months security incidents, such as in Kabul. The Afghan forces’ response had been impressive and professional, he acknowledged.
“So a lot of what I can hear from you in terms of your aspirations of what you want to see in terms of transition is occurring. And while as we go from 2013 to 2014 we'll be primarily in this assisting role, we'll be ready to take on combat should that happen…”
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