Plan to end Afghan war on track: Hagel
“This is the first time that has happened in twelve years of US and international involvement in Afghanistan,” Hagel said of a ceremony in Kabul that saw Afghanistan formally assuming the lead responsibility for security nationwide.
In his remarks on challenges facing the Department of Defense, Hagel told audience at the University of Nebraska at Omaha that it kept them on track to responsibly end the war next year, and transition to a far more limited, non-combat mission to assist the Afghan government as it takes full responsibility for the country's future.
According to the Defense Secretary, the US and the international community would continue to be engaged in Afghanistan, and working with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to advance security in a critically important part of the world.
“Going forward, our engagement in Afghanistan will demand less from our military as we transition to a "train, advise, and assist" mission. There will also be a greater role for institutions like UNO's Center for Afghanistan Studies, which has played a unique role in helping forge strong links between the United States and Afghanistan for more than 40 years,” he said.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha has helped coordinate training for more than 3,000 Afghan educators and distributed 15 million textbooks since 9/11, among many other important activities, he said, adding that its contributions have made a tangible difference in the lives of the Afghan people.
“As the United States military winds down from two wars, it is by necessity undergoing a global transition, like in Afghanistan. That process is being accelerated by a rapidly shifting and increasingly complicated security environment, and the reality of reduced resources for defense,” Hagel said.
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