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NATO Delegation Visits Kabul


NATO Delegation Visits Kabul
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KABUL -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the international community remains committed to help enable Afghan forces assume full responsibility for their country's security after 2014, when coalition troops are due to end their combat mission in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul, Rasmussen, said the alliance's "goal is that Afghanistan will be able to stand on its own feet, but Afghanistan will not stand alone."

"Our visit today is a clear demonstration of our commitment," Rasmussen said. "All 50 nations within the ISAF coalition remain committed to Afghanistan -- now and for the long term. And this is a great opportunity to see with our own eyes the progress we are making."

Rasmussen was speaking to reporters in a joint press-conference with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai after their meeting in Kabul.

The NATO chief arrived in Kabul on October 18 at the head of a delegation of the North Atlantic Council, NATO's highest level decision-making body.

Rasmussen said Afghanistan's forces have already begun taking responsibility for the country's security.

"The Afghan security forces have already achieved much," Rasmussen said. "They are in the lead for the security of three quarters of the population and where they are in charge violence has gone down. Your forces are in the lead for 80 percent of all operations and they conduct 85 percent of the training."

The NATO chief also reiterated the international community's commitment to "promote economic and social development" in Afghanistan.

Karzai said that his country's military and police are ready and willing to take full responsibility for security, if the U.S.-led international coalition decides to speed up the handover to Afghan government forces.

"Afghans are ready to expedite the process of transition if necessary and willing as well," he said. "So this is in all aspects good news for us and good news for NATO."

NATO has agreed to offer a new mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan forces after 2014. Rasmussen underlined "this will not be a combat mission."

After the meeting with Karzai, the delegation was due to hold meetings with members of the Afghan government and parliament, representatives of the international community, and units of the Afghan National Security Forces.