U.S., Afghanistan look beyond 2014

Oct. 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. and Afghan ministers said they were looking for ways to secure their strategic partnership beyond 2014 when the transition process ends.

International forces are to end military operations in 2014 as Afghan forces take on greater security responsibility. Allies involved in the international effort have said 75 percent of the Afghan population lives in areas where national forces are in the lead.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul in Washington for the inaugural meeting of a bilateral partnership commission.

A statement issued from the meeting states that Washington and Kabul are committed to an open and transparent transition to ensure the stability of a democratic Afghanistan.

"Experts from both sides are to develop a plan for medium- and long-term security cooperation under the designation of Afghanistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States," the statement read.

NATO leaders this week said the 2014 timetable was based on definitive agreements between Kabul and the alliance. Some participants have expressed reservations because of the rise in the number of attacks by Afghan forces on international troops.

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