NATO’s exit strategy from Afghanistan will dominate a crucial summit starting today.
Arriving in Portugal for the talks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai will hear plans to withdraw most of the 150,000 foreign troops within four years.
NATO leaders will endorse a timetable to start handing over security responsibility.
But while international forces are unpopular with many Afghans, some see dangers in their departure.
“The root of the problems in Afghanistan is our neighbours like Pakistan and Iran,” said Said Mostafa Mahmoud of Afghan 1TV. “Because if NATO wanted to leave Afghanistan, then Afghanistan will suffer again problems, because such countries like Pakistan don’t want Afghanistan to be in peace”.
Now in its 10th year, the US-led intervention is widely seen as going badly for Washington and its allies. It has failed to stop a Taliban insurgency and foreign casualties have hit record levels.
Our correspondent in Lisbon, Jose Miguel Sardo, says the NATO summit looks likely to come up with a new two-step plan for Afghanistan. Today, the alliance will approve a new strategy for possible civilian operations there. And tomorrow it is set to discuss the situation after 2014 and the pull out of foreign forces.