Defence Ministers of the 49 nations which contribute to ISAF expressed strong commitment to support Afghanistan throughout the transition process and well beyond.
Ministers discussed ISAF’s ongoing commitment to Afghanistan once Afghan forces have taken full responsibility for security across the country.
They assessed progress made in the transition process and noted that the Afghan National Security Forces are increasingly capable of taking on the insurgents. They stressed that Transition is not departure, but rather NATO will continue to support Afghanistan after 2014.
“Let there be no mistake: transition is not departure. We will not take our leave when the Afghans take the lead. NATO nations have agreed an Enduring Partnership with the Afghan people and we will live up to it” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during the press conference following the meeting.
Defence Ministers exchanged views regarding the support that ISAF can provide to the Afghan authorities as the transition process continues. They agreed that at the NATO Summit in Chicago next May, they will outline in practical terms how to continue supporting Afghanistan after 2014.
“At the Chicago summit, we will decide what comes next and how we can support the Afghan security forces further”, the NATO Secretary General highlighted.
Rasmussen underlined that “NATO trainers and international trust funds are already making a crucial difference in Afghanistan. Now we need to decide what more we will do. That will be one of our main tasks at our Chicago summit –so it is important that we started the debate today”.