Tashkent, Uzbekistan, May 19
By Demir Azizov- Trend:
The NATO mission in Afghanistan will be reduced in scale after withdrawing the alliance's forces from the country.
The remarks were made by James Appathurai, the NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.
"From 8,000 to 12,000 representatives of the alliance's forces will be left there. They will not carry out combat missions, but will hold preparations for military training, consultations and render assistance," he said.
Appathurai didn't specify how long the NATO mission will remain in Afghanistan, but expressed confidence that the potential of the Afghan security forces is increasing.
This was apparent in the first round of the presidential elections in Afghanistan, during which the country's security forces demonstrated the ability to cope with their tasks, the NATO secretary general's special representative stressed.
He went on to add that NATO plans to render assistance in training of specialists both in Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, to combat the spread of drugs.
Appathurai underscored that the alliance and Uzbekistan have agreed on the key areas of cooperation, adding that the cargo transit through Uzbekistan remains the most important field of cooperation.
As previously reported, the NATO secretary general's special representative held meetings with Uzbekistan's foreign minister and defense minister.
Appathurai also attended the opening of the alliance's Liaison Office for Central Asia in Tashkent and took part in the ceremony of opening the NATO Depositary Library at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy under Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry.
Edited by C.N.