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Taliban can’t wait us out, says Rasmussen

Taliban can’t wait us out, says Rasmussen

Jul 04, 2013 - 20:33

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon):  The NATOinfo-icon secretary-general on Thursday admitted the Talibaninfo-icon remained had been weakened and the combat role of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) would end next year.

“For ISAF, it means we will no longer plan, lead or execute combat operations. However, we will continue to help Afghan troops on such operations, when needed. We will remain combat-ready until the end of 2014,” he said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen told his monthly news conference in Brussels the Afghanistaninfo-icon mission reached an important milestone in June when local security forces were given the lead in combat operations.

“The old Taliban saying that you have the clocks, we have the time no longer holds. And the Taliban can’t just wait us out,” the diplomat said in his opening remarks, according to the transcript of the press conference released by the alliance.

The Afghan forces were getting stronger with time, he believed, saying: “They are getting support and sustainment not just now, but for years to come. As they stand ready to sustain the progress of the past decade, the international community will continue to stand with them.”

Regarding the Afghan security forces taking the lead in providing countrywide security, he said: “For Afghanistan, it means that a key goal is in sight: a country where security is provided by Afghans, for Afghans…”

The secretary-general recalled there were no Afghan forces 10 years ago. Five years ago, he said, they were in a much smaller number than their current strength.

“Two and a half years ago, at the Lisbon Summit, when we agreed with President Karzai on the roadmap for transition, some questioned whether it could be done,” Rasmussen added.

He promised NATO would continue to develop Afghan security personnel’s skills and their institutions. At the end of 2014, the alliance would open a new chapter, with a smaller non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces.




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