Afghanistan could seek non-NATO military equipment: Karzai
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 19:00
Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said today his government may seek non-NATO military supplies if the West fails to equip the Afghan army to take over national security after 2014.

Karzai made the remarks at a news conference after returning from a summit in Lisbon, where NATO leaders endorsed a plan to start handing Afghan forces command of the war next year, with the aim of ceding full control by 2014.

The president said Afghanistan needs military and financial support from NATO and the United States to do the job, but that hardware already given to the Afghan army was insufficient.

"We are in negotiations with the international community... Our hope for the Afghan national army and air force is adequate equipment," he said.

"If our NATO partners do not give us this equipment -- in that case -- Afghanistan has the liberty to get this equipment from somewhere else," he added, without naming any specific country.

Afghan troops are trained and paid by Western mentors to carry out joint operations with NATO and US-led forces. They rely heavily on their Western partners for air transport, heavy artillery and air power.

The United States and NATO have around 140,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban-led insurgency which is now in its 10th year.

These forces have trained more than 136,000 Afghan army soldiers and 119,600 police as part of the NATO training mission, with a goal of 171,600 soldiers and 134,000 police by November next year.


First Published: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 19:00

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