36 countries pledge to assist new NATO mission in Afghanistan
In an exclusive interview with Afghan media in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that under a sound legal basis the Afghan government’s request, the Alliance would launch a new mission in Afghanistan after 2014.
“After 2014, NATO will not take part in a combat mission. It will provide training, advice and assistance to Afghan National Security Forces,” he said.
To a Pajhwok Afghan News question on how many countries would take part in the new mission, Rasmussen said that so far 28 NATO members and 8 non-NATO partners have confirmed that they would contribute to the post-2014 mission.
He said the Afghan National Security Forces are now well prepared. They are leading 80 percent of the security operations and 90 percent of their own training.
At the Bonn and Tokyo international conferences on Afghanistan the international community undertook that it would not abandon Afghanistan after 2014. It has already pledged billions of dollars of assistance to Afghanistan.
In response, Afghanistan promised the international community to eradicate corruption, promote good governance and human rights, particularly the rights of women, and to conduct inclusive, transparent, and credible elections, he added.
To a question on when the new mission would end, Rasmussen said no deadline has been set yet.
Responding to a query whether Russian trainers would train Afghan soldiers on Afghan soil, Rasmussen said he doesn’t think that Russian instructors would be deployed to Afghanistan. He added that Afghan helicopters crews are being trained in Russia within the framework of a programme run by the NATO Russia Council.
Asked whether NATO was ready to take security responsibility during the forthcoming elections in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General replied that elections will be Afghan-led and that the Afghan security forces will have primary responsibility to ensure that elections take place in a secure environment. He added “we stand ready to support the Afghan security forces, if necessary.”
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