Security transition unstoppable: Rasmussen
KABUL (PAN): The NATO secretary-general on Monday said all possible efforts were being made to check increasing green-on-blue attacks in different parts of Afghanistan, an issue of deep concern for all member states.
“We are looking carefully into each one. And we are doing everything we can, together with our Afghan partners, to reduce the risks as much as we can,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks in the US.
“Over the next 28 months, we will continue to train and support the Afghan forces so that they assume full responsibility for security in their own country. This process of transition is unstoppable,” he told reporters in Brussels.
The vetting and screening of Afghan army and police recruits was being strengthened and counter-intelligence efforts improved, he said, explaining ISAF and Afghan forces were getting more training to understand cultural differences.
“Last week, I discussed these attacks with President Karzai. We agreed that this is cause for very serious concern. And we agreed that we will do everything we can to tackle the problem,” recalled the secretary-general.
The enemies of Afghanistan would not be allowed to force a change in NATO strategy or drive a wedge between ISAF soldiers and their Afghan partners, he pledged. Despite the tragic incidents, the vast majority of international forces had a bond of trust with their Afghan comrades.
While moving into a supporting role, some ISAF troops would be redeployed and others go home after the completion of the security switch, he said, explaining that it did not mean a change in the timeline.
He acknowledged there would be challenges and setbacks, but they should not overshadow the significant progress the international community and the Afghans had made together.
The Afghan forces, who would reach their full strength of 352,000 within weeks, were genuinely moving into the lead for providing security for three quarters of the population, Rasmussen added.
“And make no mistake: NATO is committed to supporting Afghanistan, as part of the broader international community. Indeed, at the Chicago summit in May we agreed that after 2014, NATO will lead a new mission, to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.
“We all know the cost of our mission in Afghanistan, and the investment we have made over the years. So let me say this: we have an important goal and a mandate from the United Nations. Our strategy is set, our timeline is clear. And we will stay the course.”
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