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NATO: No plans to abandon Afghans

Dec. 19, 2011 at 1:28 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said some troops will stay beyond the 2014 deadline for turning security over to Afghan forces.

U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen said he has this message for the Taliban: "If you [have] been waiting for us to go, we're not leaving," USA Today reported.

Allen did not say what role U.S. troops would have beyond training the Afghan air force into 2016, the newspaper reported Monday.

"This is a work in progress," Allen said. "The continued work beyond '14 in terms of development of economic capability and governance will continue. We will also see, probably, a U.S. military capability beyond '14."

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. troops will shift into an advisory role as Afghan forces become more capable.

NATO spokesman Dominic Medley said NATO's role will progressively evolve from combat to training and support, the International Security Assistance Force said Monday in a release. "The job will be finished in Afghanistan to help create a secure Afghanistan -- for shared security," Medley said

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