Foreign forces may stay in Afghanistan for another 5 years



London: A multi-nation conference getting underway on Monday will give the go ahead for creation of a western funded huge reconciliation fund running into hundred of millions of pounds to bribe leading Afghan insurgents to stop fighting.

The crucial conference attended by top leaders from US, UK, NATO nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will also unveil new plans for extending the deployment of NATO troops in Afghanistan for another five years, Times reported quoting a leaked draft of the communiqué to be issued at the end of the conference.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the host of the Summit will present the plan for stabilising Afghanistan which envisages the Afghan forces only taking on an operational command role only after several years.

Times said, the statement lays down a timeline which is significantly less optimistic than that envisages by President Barack Obama who has said US forces would aim to withdraw from Afghanistan by mid 2011.

Citing the communiqué which it said will end the conference in London, Times said that Afghan security forces will be given another six years to take over the physical responsibility of the country.

The draft statement commits the Afghan troops to "taking the lead and conducting the majority of operations in the insecure areas of Afghanistan within three years and taking responsibilities for physical security after five years".

"Continued support from western troops will be needed till then", the document said.

More than 113,000 international troops are fighting in Afghanistan under US and NATO command. US is pouring another 30,000 troops this year.

PTI