NATO chief backs withdrawal plan

Published Friday, July 6, 2012

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday denied that the country would fall to the Taliban after his forces withdrew, saying he believes Afghan forces are capable of securing their own country by the end of 2014.

"I'm confident that the Afghan security forces will be able to take full responsibility for security all over Afghanistan by the end of 2014 according to our plan," Rasmussen told a press conference in Zagreb after meeting Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.

"From 2015 we will continue in a supportive mission with a training mission. So we are on the right track," he added.

A day earlier, speaking in Slovenia, Rasmussen called the transition in Afghanistan "a logistical challenge".

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is to hand over security to local forces by the end of 2014.

But a US military report leaked in February said the country was likely to fall back into the hands of the Taliban following the withdrawal of NATO forces.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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