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NATO Chief Predicts Afghans Will Be In Control by 2014


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 9, 2011.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, June 9, 2011.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says operations in Afghanistan remain a "key operational priority" for the alliance and predicted the Afghan government will take full control of security by 2014.

He spoke in Brussels at a meeting of NATO defense ministers and those from non-NATO allies in the international security force in Afghanistan.

The meeting is addressing the scheduled drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan later this year, after a decade of establishing and defending a democratic government against the Taliban.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in attendance, in what will be his last meeting with that group before retiring at the end of the month.

Gates has been calling for the drawdown to proceed at a cautious pace, as the U.S. lessens what has been a lead role in the international effort.

Tuesday in the Afghan capital Kabul, on a farewell visit to U.S. troops, Gates said the coalition is on track to deliver "a decisive blow" against the Taliban.

Gates steps down June 30.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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