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NATO Chief Pledges To Meet Afghan Handover Goal

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the alliance is on track to fully hand over responsibility for securing Afghanistan to local forces by the end of 2014 as scheduled.

Speaking during a visit to an Afghan special forces facility outside Kabul, Rasmussen said Afghan troops would be ready to take the lead role around the country by mid-2013.

He also pledged that funding and training of Afghan troops by NATO would continue after 2014.

Afghan security forces now number about 330,000 and are to increase to 352,000 by the end of the year.

Rasmussen was to meet President Hamid Karzai during his visit.

With reporting by AP and dpa