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NATO Plans Summit On Next Year's Afghan Withdrawal

U.S. President Barack Obama watches as NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 31.
NATO countries are planning a summit next year to discuss troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama made the announcement after a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Washington on May 31.

The United States and its 28 NATO allies are preparing to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

Obama said he and Rasmussen talked about steps that could be taken after 2014.

"We had an opportunity to discuss, not only the planning for the next year and a half, but also, what kinds of steps we could take post 2014 to continue to insure that Afghan security forces are effective and control their own borders and that NATO members can be assured that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for terrorism in the future," Obama said.

Rasmussen said NATO is preparing a training mission in Afghanistan in 2015.

"By the end of 2014, our combat mission will be completed, our combat troops will return home, the Afghans security forces will take full responsibility for the security, but we will still be there to train advise and assist," Rasmussen said.

The date and the venue of the 2014 summit have not yet been decided.

Rasmussen said the summit will focus on NATO's mission once it withdraws from Afghanistan.

"Today, the president and I have discussed this vision of change from a deployed NATO to a prepared NATO and we look very much forward to further outlining and discussing this shared vision with NATO allies at a summit in 2014," Rasmussen said.

There are 62,000 U.S. troops and 34,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Obama and Rasmussen did not say how many would remain in the country to help support the Afghan government as it takes responsibility for its own security.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP