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NATO Determined for Success in Afghanistan

Anders Fogh Rasmussen Secretary General of NATO

NATO is considering a plan to pay for higher number of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) until 2018. The plan is proposed at a time when there are increasing speculations over a minimalist presence of the US in post-2014 Afghanistan. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on the day five of the NATO summit in Brussels that the alliance is considering a plan to fund over 350 thousand Afghan security forces until 2018.

If NATO members approve the plan the money paid by US and its allies in the NATO would add another two billion dollars for Afghanistan’s security forces. In May 2012, NATO members agreed pay 4.1 billion dollars each year for sustaining a 230,000 strong Afghan National Security Forces. Now it seems that the Afghan security partners are gradually their combat role in the Afghan war and shift to a support role until end of 2014. At the height of an unpopular war, the administration in Washington is increasingly finding itself under public pressure to speed up the withdrawal process and bring the troops back home. Thus, the White House is supporting a speedy withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and keeping a few thousand troops after NATO mission in Afghanistan ends in 2014.

But, at the same there strong pressures from some NATO members as well as military officials in the Pentagon to persuade the Obama administration for keeping a bigger portion of residual forces in Afghanistan. In a sign of NATO interest to keep more troops in Afghanistan, German Defense Minister said on Friday that the US has agreed to keep 8,000 to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the international coalition leaves the country next year. Despite that the US rejected the comments made by German Defense Minister; the arguments indicate that the NATO members are supporting a strong presence of foreign forces in post-2014 Afghanistan.

The new position by NATO members is indeed a promising sign of the alliance’s commitment to Afghanistan and its security and stability in the future. A fainting stance by the NATO and US would jeopardize the whole mission as well as the achievements for which the international community paid blood and money treasures. This is not something which NATO and the United Stance can ready for. Previously, the US supported a plan to cut the size of Afghan army and police to 230,000 troops by 2017. Many warn that such a plan would be disastrous for Afghan mission and for the ongoing war against insurgency.

Since the US is the sole shareholder of the fund needed for Afghan forces after 2014, it is still uncertain whether the NATO would definitely support the plan aimed at funding a bigger Afghan security forces. But what is clear is that the NATO allies of the US and the Obama administration won’t leave Afghanistan alone to the insurgency after 2014 and would try collectively to support the collective mission of stabilizing Afghanistan.



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