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
"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.