NATO united on Afghan mission

Nov. 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- NATO allies share the objective of building the capabilities of Afghan national security forces and the government, the British foreign secretary said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague was briefing a parliamentary session of NATO delegates on the progress of the reconstruction of a Afghanistan.

Hague said Afghanistan has come a long way since the initial U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Afghanistan has had several rounds of elections and made progress on security and its economy since then.

A stable and secure Afghanistan, he said, meant fewer threats to NATO member states. While all members of the international community want to see Afghanistan capable of standing on its own, there are key challenges remaining, however.

"There is armed opposition to the Afghan government and to our international presence," he said.

The Asia Foundation in a recent review of public sentiment found most Afghans were optimistic about the pace of reconstruction in the country but felt the Taliban remained the single greatest threat to the country.

More than 2,000 members of a Loya jirga last weekend discussed the strategic relationship with the United States. Hameed Farouqi, a representative of the Loya jirga, said most Afghans recognize their vulnerabilities.

"Our people know they are vulnerable and know they need a strong partnership with the superpower in the world," he was quoted by The Christian Science Monitor as saying.

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