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NATO defense ministers to meet on Afghanistan on Friday

English.news.cn   2013-02-18 19:31:30            

KABUL, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The defense ministers of the NATO and other troop contributing nations will later this week discuss the situation in Afghanistan, said a NATO spokesman here on Monday.

"On Thursday and Friday this week, 21 and 22 February, NATO and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) Defense Ministers meet at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium," spokesman Dominic Medley told a press briefing.

This is the normal and regularly scheduled meeting of the ministers, he said, adding "Afghanistan will be on the agenda on Friday,"

Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi will address the 50 ISAF defense ministers, he said.

The new ISAF Commander General Joeph Dunford and NATO Senior Civilian Representative will also provide updates at the meeting, he added.

"It is expected that ministers will hear briefings on the latest situation in Afghanistan, on transition, on redeployment, on sustaining the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and on plans for the new NATO mission after 2014 to train, advise and assist," he noted.

Currently 100,000-strong foreign troops with nearly 66,000 of them Americans are being deployed in Afghanistan.

Under the U.S. President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan 33,000 U.S. troops already pulled out of Afghanistan in September last year and another 34,000 will return home within one year. Most of ISAF are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The ANSF have taken full control of areas where about 75 percent of Afghan population lives.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan will switch from combat to support role -- training, advising and assisting Afghan forces -- this spring, Obama has said.

Editor: Lu Hui
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