Chicago to set out future plans for Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (PAN): The summit in Chicago would review the international community’s progress made in Afghanistan and roll out future plans to achieve political stability, economic development and ensure the country did not become safe havens for terrorists again, the NATO chief said on Saturday.
“We will take stock of the progress we are making in Afghanistan. We will set out our plans for the future. Our goal is to make sure that Afghanistan will never again be a safe haven for terrorists. Terrorist who used the sanctuary of that country to plan horrendous attacks such as those on 9/11,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a Chicago audience.
“We are making good progress towards that goal. With our help Afghan forces are already in the lead for providing security for half the country’s population. And they are growing more capable and confident day by day,” Rasmussen said ahead of the meeting.
President Hamid Karzai on May 13 announced in the third phase of security transition, Afghan forces would take control in three more provinces -- Kapisa, Uruzgan and Parwan. As many as 260 districts, or 75 percent of the country’s population, will be controlled by Afghan forces.
Once the decision was implemented, transition would have begun in each of the 34 provinces, including every provincial capital. And three quarters of the Afghan population would be looking to their own forces for security, said Rasmussen.
“Next year we will reach a really significant point in our shared journey because that is when the Afghans will be in the lead for providing security throughout their country. We will gradually shift our role from combat to support. And by the end of 2014, Afghans will be fully in charge of their own security.
“This does not mean the end of our commitment and we will make that clear here in Chicago. We will lay out how we will continue to support Afghanistan and its people beyond that date. We expect to have a new mission, to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces so they remain strong in the years to come,” Rasmussen said.
He said while NATO members and its partners would play a key role in sustaining the Afghan forces, the international community has another vital task as well, mainly in the reconstruction and development, and also in helping Afghan authorities build the institutions necessary to run a country effectively and fairly.
It is for the Afghans to shape their own future, he said, adding that they have pledged to preserve freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights.
And, of course that also includes women’s rights. For Afghanistan, it’s crucial that women are allowed to play their full part in shaping the country’s future and we expect the Afghans to honour these commitments, he noted.
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