NATO eyes Afghan role beyond 2014

May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM
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CHICAGO, May 21 (UPI) -- NATO is expected to outline a strategic agreement with Afghanistan that highlights its continuing role in the country, the NATO secretary-general said.

Members of NATO are meeting in Chicago this week for their annual summit. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, at the start of the Monday sessions, that handing security responsibility over to Afghan forces was at the top of the agenda.

Afghan forces are expected to assume authority over security operations in the country by the end of 2014.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said during the weekend that he looked forward to a time when his country was no longer "a burden" for members of the international community.

Rasmussen said that NATO members and partners to the International Security Assistance Force are expected to endorse a strategic arrangement for Afghanistan.

"From 2015, we expect to maintain a NATO-led presence to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces," he said in a statement. "And NATO and ISAF nations will also pay their fair share to help sustain the army and police Afghanistan needs for the future."

This year, at least 160 soldiers in the NATO coalition have been killed in Afghanistan. That includes 110 from the United States, 20 from Britain and 30 from various other NATO allies.

Most recently, two U.S. troops were killed by a Taliban rocket attack on a military base Friday in the eastern province of Kunar.

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