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NATO Defense Chiefs To Discuss Post-2014 Afghan Mission

The commander of the international coalition in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford
NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels for a second day to discuss the alliance's operations in Afghanistan after its combat mission ends there in 2014.

However, no final decision is expected on the number of troops and trainers to be stationed in Afghanistan after NATO troops withdraw.

Ahead of the meeting, U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, told reporters that he expects the NATO defense chiefs to further define what sort of mission they want to pursue in Afghanistan after 2014.

He said NATO is likely to wait until this fall, after the current "fighting season" ends, to make a decision on the number of troops and trainers.

Afghan forces are due to assume full security responsibility after 2014.

The talks in Brussels started on June 5 with a meeting between the NATO ministers and their counterpart from Georgia, which contributes some 1,560 troops to the 100,000-strong NATO mission in Afghanistan.

NATO has promised that Georgia could join the alliance someday, when all the conditions for membership are met.

Speaking at the meeting, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance expects the Georgian government to respect the rule of law and human rights, and hold free and fair presidential elections later this year.

Based on reporting by by AP, dpa, and Reuters