US, Germany, Italy Vow Key Afghan Roles Post-2014
Brussels – Germany and Italy will join the United States as “lead nations” in regions of Afghanistan after NATO transitions into a noncombat mission there after 2014, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday. The U.S. defense chief was speaking after the Atlantic alliance laid out a new plan shifting into a training and assistance role for the Afghan forces set to take over from NATO in about 18 months. He didn’t specify, however, how many troops NATO will maintain in Afghanistan after that.
“The United States has committed to being the largest single contributor to this mission” – as lead nation in the restive east and south, Hagel told reporters after a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
“We appreciate the commitments that other nations are making, including announcements by Germany and Italy that they will serve as lead nations for the north and the west” – zones the two European are in charge of now in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan. Turkey, he said, was “favorably considering” a role as “framework nation” in Kabul, the Afghan capital. (AP)