NATO to chart next phase of Afghan security switch
CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (PAN): Led by US President Barack Obama, leaders of powerful NATO member countries pledged to chart the next phase of security transition in Afghanistan, as their two-day meeting kicked off on Sunday.
“Over the next two days, we shall meet -- first as allies and then with (Afghan) President Hamid Karzai and our international partners -- to chart the next phase of the transition in Afghanistan,” Obama said in his address to the inaugural session of the two-day summit, being attended by leaders from more than 60 countries.
He added: “Just as we have sacrificed together for our common security, we shall stand together, united, in our determination to complete this mission.”
Obama said that he looked forward to their meeting with NATO’s neighbours and partners around the world who have been so critical of NATO’s operations in Afghanistan and Libya. “It will be another reminder that NATO is truly a hub of a network of global security partners. There is nothing else like it on earth.”
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “Together we will chart the course of our future engagement in Afghanistan. We will make sure we will complete transition to Afghan security lead by the end of 2014 and make clear our long term partnership with Afghan people beyond 2014, so that Afghanistan never harbours any terrorist who can attack us, and Afghans can look forward to a better future in a stable region.”
Obama said that for over 65 years, the alliance had been the bedrock of their common security of freedom and of prosperity. Although the time might have changed, the fundamental reason for the alliance had not, he remarked.
“Our nations are stronger and more prosperous when we stand together. In good times and in bad, our alliance has endured, in fact, it has thrived -- because we share an unbreakable commitment to the freedom and security of our citizens,” the president continued.
“We have seen this from the Cold War to the Balkans, from Afghanistan to Libya. And that is the spirit that we need to sustain here in Chicago and with an alliance that is focused squarely on the future,” Obama commented.
"When we last met in Lisbon, we agreed to a bold plan of action to revitalize the alliance and ensure that we have the tools that are required to confront a changing and uncertain strategic landscape,” said the president.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.