News / Asia

NATO Endorses Plan to Exit Afghanistan in 2014, US Holds Back

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at the Nato summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov 2010
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at the Nato summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov 2010

NATO and Afghanistan signed an agreement in Lisbon marking the Atlantic alliance's commitment to the war-torn nation after it ends combat operations, ostensibly by the end of 2014. But a senior U.S. official said some combat troops would stay on beyond that deadline.

At a press conference flanked by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO would not abandon Afghanistan - or the region - even after its forces leave. He spoke minutes after signing an agreement with Mr. Karzai ensuring NATO's long-term presence in that country.

"The long-term partnership agreement we have signed today is not only a signal to the Afghan people that we stay committed beyond the date when the combat mission ends. It is also a clear signal to the region that we will not leave behind a security vacuum that could create instability in the region," he said.

Watch Suzanne Presto's Companion TV Report:

Mr. Rasmussen's remarks came as NATO's 28 member states formally agreed to start reducing troop levels in Afghanistan next year and to hand over full control of security operations to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Mr. Rasmussen said he was confident that deadline could be met, because he said NATO forces were making progress in attacking the Taliban insurgency.

But a senior U.S. official said not all combat troops would be out of Afghanistan by that date, noting there was still a lot of hard fighting going on. And both Mr. Rasmussen and U.N. chief Ban cautioned that NATO's actions must reflect the realities on the ground.

"Basically I believe that the transition is not about the dates, it is about the status of health Afghanistan can take their leadership, can take ownership to promote their own stability and peace," said Ban.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Nato summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov 2010
Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Nato summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov 2010

The remarks follow criticism by Mr. Karzai of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, notably night raids against insurgents. But on Saturday, the Afghan president said NATO leaders had understood his concerns.

"Generaly I found the environment today one of satisfaction and of confidence towards a partnership that will bring us success in our endeavors," he said.

Besides talks on Afghanistan, NATO heads of state have also endorsed a new roadmap or stategic doctrine for the alliance based on the premise that an attack on one member is an attack against all.  NATO leaders are also holding talks with Russia on Saturday along with separate U.S.-European discussions.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs