Afghan forces could be taking over from foreign troops in some areas as early as the end of this year. Although the target for a nationwide handover has been set for 2014.
That was the ambitious deadline which won the backing at the end of the biggest gathering of world government ministers in Kabul for decades.
Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai confirmed what some think is an overly rosy picture of the situation.
“ I am committed to having the ability by 2014, meaning another five years which by now is almost four years, to reach a level of strength and ability and capacity within our forces to provide for our own security,” he said.
Such a handover depends on how fast foreign troops are able to train Afghan recruits.
That difficulty was recently illustrated by the killing of coalition soldiers by two rogue Afghan trainees.
It will also rely heavily on the success of the 150,000 NATO-led force in its continuing operation against the Taliban along with persuading them to lay down arms.
This looks increasingly unachievable with Taliban chiefs stepping up their insurgency and knowing its a waiting game until coalition troops pull out.