Decision on post-2014 Afghan force by mid-year
05 March, 2013
KABUL: NATO expects a decision by the middle of this year on the size of a training force to be kept in Afghanistan once most foreign troops leave in 2014, alliance Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday.
The Pentagon has said a NATO-led training force of between 8,000 and 12,000 was under consideration.
Questions remain over how well Afghan security forces being built up by NATO will be able to tackle Islamist Taliban insurgents in the face of intensifying violence and how Western states can justify financial support for a force that has been saddled with accusations of torture by the United Nations.
"It takes some time to stand up a new training mission, of course, and we will need the clarification within the next few months," Rasmussen told Reuters after talks with President Hamid Karzai in the Afghan capital Kabul.
"I would expect it (the size of the force) to be finalised very soon because we also need to start planning," he said. Many Afghans eagerly await a firm decision on the number of foreign troops who will stay in their country once NATO's military operation officially ends at the end of next year.
"President Karzai assured me today that Afghanistan wants a NATO-led training mission to stay, to train, to give advice, to assist the Afghan security forces after 2014," Rasmussen said of the training mission, which is called "Resolute Support".