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NATO talks focus on early Afghan handover

brussels bureau

NATO talks focus on early Afghan handover


NATO has signalled Afghan troops could take over all combat operations by mid 2013 — a year earlier than planned.

Talk of drawdown in Afghanistan dominated discussions between the alliance’s defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday, though NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said changes had to be coordinated.

Claude Moniquet, an expert from the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, told euronews it is a sign of NATO’s mission fatigue in the country.

‘‘Today, NATO troops are in a fairly similar situation to their Soviet counterparts during the 1980s. They’re in control of Afghanistan’s main cities during the day, the roads and main transport arteries, but as soon as night falls the insurgents take over,’‘ Moniquet said.

Talk of an early handover follows the Pentagon’s call on Wednesday to switch to training only in Afghanistan by the middle of 2013, ahead of the full official withdrawal at the end of 2014.

The potential change in strategy follows this week’s leaked NATO report which said Pakistan’s security services were aiding the Taliban.

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brussels bureau