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

Multimedia

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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid