Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has said his country should take responsiblity for its own security by 2014.
As countries from the NATO-led coalition plot their exit strategies from the conflict, Karzai told a meeting of international dignitaries in Kabul that Afghan forces would be ready to do the job within the next three years
“I remain determined that our Afghan national security forces will be responsible for all military and law enforcement operations throughout our country by 2014,” the Afghan president told delegates.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said some responsibilities would be transferred from next July when Washington starts scaling down troop numbers.
“The transition process is too important to push off indefinitely, but this date is the start of a new phase not the end of our involvement,” Clinton said.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen added that the transfer of power would be based on “conditions, not calendars”.
But since a nine-year American presence has failed to tame the Taliban, questions have been raised about whether Afghanistan’s forces would be able to cope.
Karzai won backing from Afghan tribal leaders last month to start peace talks with the insurgents and he called on delegates to support him in his efforts.