NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the North Atlantic Council and several ISAF partner nations concluded a three-day visit to Afghanistan on Friday. They met Afghan President Hamid Karzai, members of the Government and the Parliament in Kabul, regional leaders, and held meetings with ISAF and Afghan National Security Forces commanders from the East, South-West and North.
They also visited Camp Morehead, headquarters of the Afghan National Army’s Special Operations Command, as well as Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif.
The visit demonstrated the full commitment of NATO and partner nations to Afghanistan now and beyond 2014, and was an opportunity to see the progress being made in the mission, as plans to hand over full security responsibility from ISAF forces to their Afghan counterparts are on course.
“Our strategy is working,” the Secretary General said. “We know there are still challenges and work to do, but based on what we’ve seen and heard, we’ve made significant progress, we can reaffirm our timeline and complete transition by the end of 2014. We have seen very clear commitment from our Afghan partners to make this a success.”
NATO and ISAF partners are committed to seeing their combat mission through to the end of 2014 and they will work with the Afghan government to establish a training, advising and assistance mission after 2014, the Secretary General said. The Secretary General said that Afghan Security Forces were gaining in strength and capabilities.
“They are in the lead for security of three quarters of the population, and where they are in charge, violence has gone down,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
He added that the Afghan people can be proud that at the end of 2014 year, their armed forces and police will be in the lead for security across the entire country. The Secretary General also stressed that the Afghan security forces will be in the lead for providing security for elections in 2014.
“It’s essential for the trust between the Afghan people and government that these elections take place in a free, transparent and inclusive manner,” he stressed.
He had this message to the Afghan people: “I can assure you: you have the strong and long-term support of the whole international community. So you can look to the future with confidence, and build the future that you want and deserve.”