NATO and its allied nations will not leave Afghanistan after Afghan security forces take full control of security from NATO and U.S. forces by the end of 2014, a NATO spokesman said Monday.
"NATO is clearly committed to supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the gradual transition of responsibility for the security of the country from ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops to Afghan forces will be fully implemented,"NATO civilian representative spokesman Dominic Medley told reporters in a joint weekly press briefing.
The United States is going to host NATO members at a Chicago summit expected to be held on May 20-21, with Afghanistan at the top of its agenda. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to participate in the summit, Xinhua reported.
Transition of security responsibilities from NATO forces to Afghan army and police began in July last year and lasts till 2014 when Afghanistan is due to take over the its full security duties from U.S. and NATO forces.
According to U.S. President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan, 10, 000 U.S. troops already pulled out from Afghanistan last year and another 23,000 will return home by September this year. "This is the 25th NATO Summit and is set to be the largest ever, "Medley said, adding"Around 60 leaders of countries and international organizations are expected to attend, including the United Nations, World Bank and European Union,"
"At Chicago, leaders will make clear their commitment to a strong partnership with Afghanistan beyond 2014," he said.
"NATO will support Afghanistan after transition is completed, NATO will continue to train, advise and assist Afghanistan and NATO and ISAF partners will carry a fair share of funding Afghan National Security Forces and this is a commitment for the whole international community," he noted. "This past week, we witnessed the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan. This is a message to the Taliban and others that Afghanistan's allies will not abandon this country after 2014,"an ISAF Spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told the same press briefing.
U.S. President Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to Kabul late Tuesday night. During his tour, Obama inked the strategic pact with Karzai and visited main U.S. military facilities in Bagram.
Karzai said that under the pact, the United States needs to support Afghanistan in all fields including economy and security.