Entries in Lisbon (3)


Afghanistan Pullback Taking Shape at NATO Meeting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LISBON, Portugal) -- NATO leaders emerged from a closed-door session in Lisbon, Portugal, Saturday to announce plans to hand over full responsibility for Afghanistan's security by the end of 2014.

"Starting early next year, Afghan forces will begin taking the lead for security operations," NATO Secretery General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a news conference.  "This will begin in certain districts and provinces, and based on conditions, will gradually expand throughout the country."

While there seems to be general agreement among the 28 members of NATO, the U.S. may be a bit more reluctant than other nations.  Said one senior administration official about the hard end date of 2014, the White House "has simply not taken that position yet."

Just a week after expressing his frustrations over the US military presence in his country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday complimented President Obama for how he addressed the security transition in his remarks at  the NATO summit session.

The two presidents met on the side of the NATO summit and Karzai told Obama that his remarks at an earlier meeting on Afghanistan “set the tone right for the whole meeting.”

“That was my goal,” Obama said. “Every once in awhile I do things right.”

This was the first meeting between the two since May when Karzai came to the White House. It came just a week after Karzai expressed frustrations in a Washington Post interview over the US military presence in his country and said that now was the time for them to withdraw.

The process begins with the drawdown of coalition troops next year.  In addition, an agreement is in place for a long-term NATO presence within the country.  The Secretary General made that clear.  "If the Taliban or anyone else aims to wait us out, they can forget it," he said.  "We will stay as long as it takes to finish our job."

For now, the battle in Afghanistan goes on.  U.S. General David Petraeus, in charge of operations there, said in Lisbon, that some Taliban "momentum has been stymied and sometimes reversed."  He told CNN in an exclusive interview this week that he believes he will be able to begin sending U.S. troops home in July, 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Clinton Meets with Afghan Leader Ahead of Obama's Arrival

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/Getty Images(LISBON, Portugal) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for an hour at his hotel Friday morning in Lisbon. Sources tell ABC News that Karzai agreed to the NATO transition plan that will be approved by the group this weekend.

The meeting was described by a U.S. official as "a candid and friendly conversation that covered the key subjects of our mission in Afghanistan -- including transition, ongoing military operations, training of security forces, civilian assistance, and regional dynamics."

A Clinton aide says Clinton and Karzai "reached a common understanding on the summit declaration and the Afghanistan NATO partnership framework."

Clinton traveled to Lisbon ahead of President Obama's arrival Friday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Biden on Afghanistan Power Transfer: 'Daddy's Taking Off the Training Wheels'

File photo. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) --  Vice President Joe Biden sat down for an interview with Larry King on Thursday -- his 49th appearance on the CNN host’s program -- and had a colorful message for the Afghans regarding the timeline for transferring security by 2014.

"Daddy is going to start to take the training wheels off in October -- I mean in next July -- so you'd better practice riding," he said of the plan that will be outlined at the NATO summit in Lisbon.

Biden sounded skeptical when asked about his confidence in Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

"I've known President Karzai for a long, long time.  I think he's in a very difficult position," the vice president said. "You know, we could argue that there could be a stronger leader, but you deal with the hand you're dealt, as the old saying goes."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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