Karzai optimistic about post-2014 security
WASHINGTON (PAN): The United States and Afghanistan on Thursday said they had come a long way toward their shared goal of establishing a nation that would never again become a safe haven for terrorism.
Visiting President Hamid Karzai, who is currently on a three-day state visit to Washington, and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta voiced their agreement ahead of talks at the Pentagon.
With US support to help it provide security for its people and protect its borders, Afghanistan would never again be threatened by terrorists from across its frontiers, the president believed.
“I'm sure during this trip, Afghanistan and the United States will work out the modalities for the bilateral security limit that will ensure the interests of the state of Afghanistan and also the interests of the United States,” Karzai added.
Panetta told reporters that 2014, when all foreign combat troops are to leave Afghanistan, as an important year for the South Asian nation that was trying to come out of three decades of conflict.
“It was equally clear to me that our partnership, forged, as I said, through almost 11 years of shared sacrifice, is a key to our ability to achieve the final mission,” the defense secretary said.
“We've come a long way towards the shared goal of establishing a nation that you and we can be proud of, one that never again becomes a safe haven for terrorism,” Panetta said, while welcoming the Karzai.
He added 2014 would be important as foreign troops continued to transition the security responsibility to Afghan forces, and the process would be completed this coming year with the execution of the fifth tranche.
Commending the bravery and the skill of Afghan forces, Panetta said they were demonstrating, alongside the US and coalition troops, the courage and the capability to provide security to their people.
“When I traveled to Afghanistan last month, as I told you, I had the opportunity to meet with all of our military leaders there, and it was clear to me … what we are doing together is indeed succeeding,” he remarked.
Karzai thanked Panetta for the warm welcome. “Indeed, Afghanistan and the United States have come a long way in the past 11 years with sacrifice on both sides of your men and women in uniform and civilians and also of the Afghan security forces and people.”
With the fifth phase of transition expected to be announced in mid-2013, Afghanistan would be taking over responsibility for its security, he said. “I thank you and our other allies for providing Afghanistan the assistance that it needed for the past 11 years and for training and equipping Afghan security forces.”
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