NATO has agreed to hand control of security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
But Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a long-term partnership deal with the alliance amid assurances in Lisbon that his country will not be abandoned.
“Starting early next year, Afghan forces will begin taking the lead for security operations,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “The aim is for Afghan forces to be in the lead countrywide by the end of 2014.”
The NATO-led force aims to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the same date if security conditions are good enough. A vastly reduced number of foreign troops would remain in a training and support role.