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NATO outlines long-term engagement in Afghanistan with uncertainty

English.news.cn   2014-09-05 03:25:56

NEWPORT, Britain, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- NATO leaders at the Wales Summit on Thursday outlined the long-term engagement in Afghanistan after the end of the NATO-led combat mission in the country since 2003.

Leaders from 28 NATO nations joined by ISAF partner countries agreed to launch a non-combat mission in Afghanistan after 2014 to help train, advise and assist Afghan security forces.

"The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan will conclude at the end of 2014 as planned," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a press conference.

"For over a year, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have been in the lead for combat operations throughout the country," said the NATO chief.

"With the end of ISAF in December, we will change the nature and the scope of our involvement in Afghanistan," said Rusmussen.

The post-2014 Resolute Support Mission is one of the three pillars of NATO's long-term engagement in Afghanistan, along with the financial commitments to support the sustainment of the Afghan National Army and the strengthening of long-term political and practical cooperation with Afghanistan.

The mission's establishment is contingent on the signing of the U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement.

Rasmussen has stated that remaining troops in Afghanistan depends on the inking of a Bilateral Security Agreement between Kabul and Washington.

However, signing a security accord has been refused by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who did not attend the NATO summit, saying his successor can ink the controversial pact.

Both Afghan presidential hopefuls Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have promised to sign the agreement if they are successful in the elections and replace outgoing President Karzai.

"I cannot stress too strongly how important this is," Rasmussen said. "Without a signature, there can be no mission. Our planning is complete but time is short."

He called on the two presidential candidates to work together and to conclude the necessary security agreements as soon as possible, asking them to "swiftly deliver a peaceful outcome of this election," Rasmussen said.

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, leaders from Central Asian states, as well as representatives from key international community partners from the United Nations and the European Union also attended the meeting.

Editor: yan
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