By NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
I welcome President Karzai ‘s announcement confirming the third group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts to make the move to Afghan security lead. This means that the Afghan National Security Forces will soon have lead security responsibility for three quarters of the Afghan population.
Once this decision is implemented, transition will have begun in every one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, including every provincial capital, and will cover almost two-thirds of the country’s districts.
This is thanks to the courage and determination of the Afghan people, the Afghan security forces and ISAF, and it is a result of the progress we have already made. Together, we are moving steadily closer to our shared goal: to see the Afghan forces fully in charge of their country’s security by the end of 2014.
The completion of transition at the end of 2014 will mark the end of NATO’s combat role, but not the end of our engagement. NATO is committed to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, and to providing the training which the Afghan forces will still need, beyond 2014.
At the Chicago summit on May 20-21 we will take the decisions which will shape that future training mission.