Milestone 2013 (NATO Secretary General’s Blog)

Milestone 2013 (NATO Secretary General’s Blog)


I am in Kabul to mark an important milestone:
President Karzai’s announcement of the fifth and last group of Afghan provinces, cities
and districts to undergo transition in the coming months. This decision marks an important moment, when
the Afghan security forces will take the lead for security across the country. And it marks the progress we have made together. This is a day of pride for all Afghans. And it is a proud day for fifty nations which
contribute to the ISAF coalition. Ten years ago, there were no Afghan national
security forces. Five years ago, Afghan forces were a fraction
of what they are today. Now Afghanistan has 350,000 soldiers and police. And time and again, we have seen this formidable
force dealing quickly and competently with complex attacks. As Afghan forces step forward, the main effort
of ISAF forces will shift from combat to support. We will no longer plan, execute, or lead combat
operations. By the end of 2014 our combat mission will
be completed. A new chapter will begin. Together with our partners, we are planning
a new mission, called Resolute Support, to continue to train, advise and assist the Afghan
security forces. There are still challenges ahead and commitments
to be kept. The Afghan authorities must improve governance,
fight corruption and uphold human rights. This will pave the way for continued international
support. And democratic, transparent and inclusive
elections next year will play a very important role. We will continue this journey, based on a
new relationship with Afghanistan. A relationship that will remain strong for
the years to come.

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