Entries in Lisbon Summit (2)


NATO Leaders to Discuss Afghan Exit Plans at Lisbon Summit

Photo Courtesy - Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(LISBON, Portugal) -- Leaders of NATO countries will grapple with important defense issues, including military presence in Afghanistan, at their summit in Lisbon, Portugal this weekend.

NATO leaders are expected to endorse a plan to gradually bring troops home from Afghanistan in the coming years.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agree on this proposed transition, saying last week that both share commonality "towards greater Afghan leadership of military operations and transition to a supporting role for international forces."  Afghan representatives are expected to attend parts of the meeting.

Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance and Afghan President Hamid Karzai both share commonality "towards greater Afghan leadership of military operations and transition to a supporting role for international forces."

Also on the agenda, NATO leaders will discuss a new mission statement for the future of the alliance, as well as discuss further cooperation with Russia and ways of boosting economic growth and employment in the U.S. and Europe.

"The Lisbon summit will be substantial," Rasmussen said.  "It will shape the future of our alliance."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


NATO to Discuss 2014 Security Transition to Afghan Forces

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- Afghanistan will be able to take on its own security by 2014, according to top Pentagon officials.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters in Australia Monday that when NATO leaders meet in Portugal next week, they will likely agree on a 2014 target date for NATO security responsibilities in Afghanistan to transfer over to Afghan security forces.

Gates said, “One of the agenda items for the Lisbon summit is to embrace President  Karzai's goal of completing the transfer of security responsibility to Afghanistan by 2014.  So I think that's the kind of time frame we're looking at."  Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged at last July’s Donors Conference in Kabul to set 2014 as a goal for Afghan forces to assume security responsibilities in his country.

Both Gates and Mullen said that the 2014 transition date is realistic, "as a target at this point that makes sense, so I am comfortable with it," Mullen said.

2014 might be the target date for turning over security responsibility, but it likely won’t be the date for pulling out all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.  According to Gates, "We're going to remain a partner of Afghanistan even after our troops are gone.  We walked away from Afghanistan in 1988, and we saw the consequences of that in 2001."

It also won’t necessarily mean that coalition  troops will be fully gone from the areas, but instead what will occur is a “thinning out” of coalition forces who will still be available to provide support for Afghan troops that come in.  According to Gates, "you will see a thinning of the foreign forces in a district or province so there is a bit of a safety net under the Afghans as they take charge…I think this makes a lot sense."

Gates said he wouldn’t be surprised “if there are some recommendations as early as next spring, in terms of districts or provinces, that might be candidates for transition to Afghan security at that time."  Gates said commanders will make their recommendations on which areas are good candidates, and then coalition and Afghan government officials will assess whether a security transition is doable.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio