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Afghan training emerging as NATO focus

May 14, 2013 at 11:11 AM   |   Comments

BRUSSELS, May 14 (UPI) -- NATO forces in Afghanistan need to provide clear military guidance as they prepare for a 2014 training mission, a commander said from Brussels.

NATO forces working to hand security responsibility to Afghan counterparts next year. A NATO mission will serve to train Afghan forces after 2014.

NATO military committee Chairman Danish Gen. Knud Bartels said a focus on training would give Afghan units confidence to secure the country.

"I believe we should seek to provide clear military guidance on the conduct of the remaining 19 months of the ISAF mission and unambiguous recommendations for the planning for the Resolute Support (training) mission," he said in a statement from Brussels.

The pace at which Afghan forces were trained has sparked concerns about their readiness. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Afghan security forces were gaining strength as 2014 draws near, however.

Karzai met Monday in Kabul with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

"(Carter) congratulated President Karzai on the progress of the Afghan national security forces that is enabling the Afghan Forces to take the lead in security in over 90 percent of the country," the Defense Department said.

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