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Target set for Afghan forces to take control by 2014

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-07-20

A key international conference in Kabul has agreed that Afghan forces should lead and be responsible for military operations against the insurgent Taliban by 2014.

The international conference in Afghanistan will agree on Tuesday that Afghan forces should begin taking security responsibility in some areas by the end of this year and should lead security operations in all provinces by the end of 2014, according to a copy of the final communiqué.

FOCUS: Afghanistan's future
At the opening of the conference, Karzai declared that Afghanistan and its Western backers share “a vicious common enemy.”
But he warned that victory would be achieved by giving Afghans as much responsibility as possible in combating the insurgency within its borders.
Karzai, wearing a traditional striped robe and peaked fur hat, was flanked by international diplomats including US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Clinton said that the "world is with Afghanistan" and that the planned drawdown of US forces for July 2011 was not a sign of flagging commitment.

The conference comes at a critical juncture in the war. After nine years of war, the Taliban still control large swathes of the south of the country, despite a troop surge that will see 150,000 US troops in the country in coming weeks.
Corrupt government, ascendant insurgents
The war has killed at least 380 NATO soldiers so far this year and there is growing alarm in the West over progress of a counter-insurgency strategy designed to reverse Taliban
Afghanistan conference: donor nations concerned by rampant corruption
There is also mounting concern about governance and graft in what is one of the world's most corrupt countries.
As a result, security for the Kabul conference is tight.
Thousands of Afghan soldiers and policemen, supported by NATO troops have effectively locked down the city to guard against a possible Taliban attack at the city’s foreign ministry.
Kabul’s airport and key roads are closed. Pedestrian access is strictly limited, and Monday and Tuesday declared public holidays.
The interior ministry said rockets exploded in Kabul near the airport overnight, but there were no casualties.
Nine years of war  
Western countries countries are under mounting pressure at home to justify their financial aid and military commitments after this long, bloody and drawn out conflict.
Both Afghanistan and the United States are making efforts to reach out to Taliban foot soldiers, offering them jobs and cash in exchange for laying down their weapons.
Karzai has also called for peace talks with insurgent leaders.
Writing in the International Herald Tribune, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said a transition to Afghan leadership would not be rushed.
"This transition will not be done on the basis of an artificial timetable. It will be done on the basis of clear assessments of the political and security situation in each area," he writes.

Date created : 2010-07-19

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