November 18th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

US, NATO to be in Afghanistan beyond 2014 security handover

Even with serious questions about President Hamid Karzai's commitment to the military strategy in Afghanistan, NATO members plan to announce an enduring presence there beyond 2014, the new target date for handing off security control to the Afghans.

At its weekend summit, NATO members will tout a three-year plan to
transfer security responsibilities by 2014 to the Afghans, beginning early next
year on a phased, conditions-based timeline, NATO officials told CNN.

NATO members plan to offer a message of reassurance to Afghanistan that
the alliance will remain engaged after security control is transferred to
Afghan forces. NATO will endorse an "enduring partnership" with Afghanistan,
specifically focused on developing Afghan security forces and police, officials
said.

Canada has already committed more than 900 personnel to train Afghan
security forces, and other nations, including the Netherlands, are expected to
follow suit.

But many troops from other nations will deploy to Afghanistan in
noncombat roles, leaving more of the fight to the U.S. and British contingents.

U.S. President Barack Obama's challenge will be to urge wary NATO allies
to stay the course in Afghanistan despite mixed results, growing public
frustration, and the beginning of a drawdown of U.S. troops next summer, U.S.
officials said.

Observers of the Afghan war said they will be keenly focused on Day 2 of
the summit, Saturday, when Karzai is set to address the 48 NATO partners who
make up the International Security Assistance Force.

Afghan officials said Karzai will seek specifics on how Afghans will work
with NATO forces during the transfer of power. Karzai favors a joint command
structure that would include the Afghan military.

The pivotal NATO summit comes amid heightened tensions between Karzai and
his allies.

In an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday, Karzai was
critical of the U.S. military and called for a reduced U.S. military role. He
said U.S. raids on insurgent targets at night were counterproductive and
incited support for the Taliban.

Rankled by those comments, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S.
Gen. David Petraeus, said Karzai's remarks could undermine the war effort. He
warned the U.S.-Afghan partnership could be "untenable" if Karzai wants U.S.
troops out of Afghanistan prematurely.

The two men met Wednesday to try and defuse tensions.

Afghan officials said Karzai supports the raids on insurgents but faces
intense pressure from the Afghan public, which has protested civilian deaths.
He is also balancing the fight against the insurgency with a desire for
political settlement, the officials said.

U.S. officials explained Karzai's comments as being in line with NATO's
announcement at the summit on the transfer of control.

"We read President Karzai's interview as a call for an Afghanistan that
eventually is stable, fully sovereign and self-reliant. And in that call, we
have a lot in common," said Doug Lute, the special assistant to the president
for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"We're talking mostly a difference of timelines," Lute told reporters
Tuesday. "It's a question of whether you're reading President Karzai's call for
immediate changes or whether he's talking about changes which we all eventually want to see together."

But other Western officials have voiced concern that Karzai is
undermining the war effort at a time that NATO-led forces are regaining
momentum against the Taliban.

Ambassador Mark Sedwill, NATO's senior civilian representative in
Afghanistan, said Wednesday that coalition forces have "regained the
initiative" in the war, but said Karzai's remarks were "not helpful" in the
lead-up to the Lisbon summit.

"We have different perspectives, and it would be much better if we worked
out those different perspectives in private," Sedwill said in Kabul.

One senior European official said he hoped NATO members would have a
"genuine" discussion about Karzai's continued public criticism of the NATO
strategy. The official did not wish to be named in order to speak more frankly.

"Yes, we all share the goals he states, but at the moment, we are here
because of a United Nations mandate, and we need to explain that Afghanistan is
not fully sovereign and we are still in a transition and he has to support
that, not undermine it. The West is getting confusing signals and President
Karzai has to be confronted that this does damage to his cause."

Stephanie Sanok, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies, said she expects some sort of statement from Karzai to
be issued at the end of the summit. His criticism, she said, ultimately
contradicts NATO's strategy and he may have to set the record straight.

"At the end of the day, the night raids have been successful," she said.
"Ending them is really not an option. What I don't understand is what Karzai
hoped to gain by those comments."

Several Western officials said results on the battlefield were improving,
but not the capability of the Afghan government, which has come under fire in
the past for being corrupt and inept.

They said NATO allies need to intensify their engagement with the
government to increase its capacity for development, governance and delivering
services to the people.

"We are managing the 'clear' part, but who is going to 'hold and build'
going forward?" one senior European official asked. "That capacity to govern is
not there, and it will need to be if the Afghans want to take the lead."

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. BANGASH

    SR WAKANKAR
    You had an excellent idea of a regional solution to the issue of terrorism in this region and really SAARC should have been with leading role in resolving this outstanding issue but unfortunately this may not happen due to two main reasons. First of all such unity of poor nations in the SAARC is against the interests of the big one of the world in this region therefore they will not allow reunification of the region they have divided for their own global designs. Secondly our own ignorance as we still consider each other responsible for what is going on in our region, ignoring the fact that same big one of the world have divided us in these different states and making us fight against each other. Almost all these states are being ruled by the puppets of these big one therefore blaming one another further adding to our miseries. India being a major nation had a duty to address Pakistan’s grievances in the beginning which would have stopped Pakistan’s falling in the trap of these big one under US command and today we would have been the happiest one. Unfortunately your blaming of Pakistan for terrorism is signs of same old prejudices created by these imperialist forces, which has led to the division of this region. So be realistic and see the real faces behind terrorism and also see how poor nations have been terrorized and they are offering billions of dollars to MIC for purchase of latest deadly weapons. These internal tussles have caused innumerable losses therefore India being a big brother should come forward and resolve Kashmir issue with Pakistan and through SAARC make the region a unit in future world.

    November 19, 2010 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      Well said, we need local solution to global problem, powers who have limited stake have in past tried to exploit. IMHO it was Muslims of sub-continent who threatened civil way if not accepted their demands, this is fact. We are reaping what we sow. We need to be careful in future to avoid such pitfalls.

      November 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • unshackled

      Clerics have thrown enough monkey wrench to spoil the noble cause, this madness needs to be stopped.

      November 19, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • unshackled

        Who cares if you lick came a$$ or worse gulp "warm camel dung" and wash it down with camel urine. Strange are your ways of prayer which will never be answered when Drone hounds you.

        November 21, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
      • unshackled

        Arbization of Waziristan is already in progress, the local asinine are promised of 72 virgins while they enjoy the Waziri ones. Good thing happening, finally you will be left with these vermin's, enjoy the dream while your sis are getting r@ped.

        November 21, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. S R Wakankar

    The most appropriate way to solve the AfPak problem is through regional approach;the whole region is OLD HINDUSTAN.Af/Pak/India/and B'desh should hold summit in Delhi and sort out this issue.Not only these four nations, but Nepal/Bhutan/Burma,Sri Lanka and Maldives these South Asian nations should also join and a joint force should come into being and that joint force should be entrusted to curb terrorism .The main problem of this region is medieval anti-Indian Arab/Muslim Imperialism of which Pakistan is the flagbearer.The very birth of Pakistan ia due to the above wrong ideology.This whole region belongs to Hindu Islam, not Arab Islam but Pakistan does not adhere to this principle and follows a wrong line, supports terrorism/global Jihad/Radical Islam/Osama etc.The above menntioned nine Saarc nations can solve this problem.This whole area of South Asia is HINDUSTAN.Afgans are Indians.
    The other way to solve this problem is through Democracy.The sphere of Indian Democracy should be expanded and widened to include Afganistan and Pakistan also. Presence of Nato and US troops may pose problem, so some alternative force should be considered to be posted here so insurgency and the taliban may be checked.Instead of Nato, Sato can be formed (South Asian Treaty Organization) comprising of all these Saarc nations under rotating joint command and posted either in Kabul or Kandhar or Mazar.This strategy can work as this force would not be 'foreign' but local and their own.The whole problem is Pakistan made.Pakistan is the problem.Pakistan wants to annex forcefully Kabul as well as Kashmir which is not possible. -S R Wakankar

    November 18, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Daniel-2

    Why am I not surprised? It seems like no matter many people they kill,they can't seem to come up with any semblance of a military victory.Then again,as long as this useless war drags on,the more money these war profiteers make.

    November 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Why are you complaining? that gives you another two years of whining.

      November 18, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Thanks Phunnie boy,I didn't think of that. Then again,it gives the right-wing politicians two more years to go out and collect more votes,telling people why all this obscene carnage is necessary. Meanwhile,I'll whine and you'll laugh over it.

        November 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Humorous!

        November 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |