Foreign forces to quit Afghanistan by 2014: Report

Last Updated: Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 13:26

London: The US-led international forces
fighting in Afghanistan are likely to withdraw from the
war-torn nation by 2014 in a phased manner, a British media
report said today.

The phased security transfer of the battle-plagued
country to the Afghan National Security Forces will begin this
year, a leaked communique, circulated ahead of the
International Conference on Afghanistan to be held in Kabul on
Tuesday, said.

"The international community expressed its support for
the President of Afghanistan`s objective that the ANSF should
lead and conduct military operations in all provinces by the
end of 2014," it said.

The report based on the communique, published in The
Independent, reveals that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will
announce the timetable for a "conditions-based and phased
transition" at the Kabul conference on Tuesday.

The Tuesday meeting, which is likely to draw a roadmap
for the way ahead for Kabul, will be attended by the Indian
Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna, UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and foreign
ministers from more 70 countries.

An agreed version of the document, marked "not for
circulation", was given to senior diplomats yesterday by
United Nations Special Representative in Afghanistan Staffan
de Mistura.

The statement promises that the countries involved in
resurrecting Afghanistan will continue to "provide the support
necessary to increase security during this time, and the
continued support in training, equipping and providing interim
financing to the ANSF at every level to take on the task of
securing their country".

The document further says that the Afghan government and
the international community "agreed to jointly assess
provinces, with the aim of announcing by the end of 2010 that
the process of transition is under way."

The decision by the international forces was expected as
the US has already announced to pullout by the summer 2011 and
Hague recently saying that he would be "very surprised" if
Afghan forces do not take over security by 2014, while UK
Prime Minister David Camero wanting his troops home by 2015.

The document also outlines short-term goals for coalition
troops that include combating the opium trade by maintaining
the provinces which are free from its cultivation and
increasing the number of poppy-free provinces in Afghanistan
to 24 within 12 months. It also describes lucid elections in
future as a matter of paramount importance, the newspaper
said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 13:26

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