NATO to meet on Afghanistan next year: Obama



Washington: US President Barack Obama said Friday that NATO leaders will meet again next year to discuss troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.

The Afghan war dominated Obama's meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the White House, Xinhua reported.

Obama said they discussed the steps to be taken after 2014 to enhance the ability of the Afghan security forces to "control their own borders" and secure Afghanistan from being used "as a base for terrorism in the future".

"What we agreed to is that in order for us to facilitate this entire process, it would be appropriate for us to have another NATO summit next year," Obama told reporters, noting the meeting would mark "the final chapter in our Afghan operations".

Most of the American and NATO troops, now numbering 62,000 and 34, 000 respectively, are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 after they started a bloody and costly war in October 2001.

The NATO leaders last met in Chicago in May last year.

For his part, Rasmussen said "Combat troops will come home".

The NATO chief envisioned an Afghanistan "that can stand on its own feet." But he added: "The Afghans will not stand alone. We are prepared for an enduring partnership with the Afghan people."

IANS