U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 if Afghans want them to, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.
President Barack Obama has announced plans to begin withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan this July, with all U.S. combat troops scheduled to be out of Afghanistan by 2014.
The United States does not intend "to govern or nation-build" as that "is the responsibility of the Afghan people and they are fully capable of it," Biden said Tuesday, according to a journalist traveling with him.
"We stand ready to help you in that effort ... after 2014," the vice president said.
In November, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen signed a long-term partnership agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai under which "NATO will stay as long as necessary to support Afghanistan until it can no longer become a safe haven for terrorism."
NATO and non-NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan agreed then that Afghan security forces would increasingly take the lead on security operations in Afghanistan beginning early this year.