Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NATO vows longer stay in Afghanistan



NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182471.html

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called for an increase in the military budget of member states to extend the US-led presence in Afghanistan.

On Monday, Rasmussen called on NATO member-states to increase military budgets and keep up their contributions to the mission in Afghanistan. He claimed that a rapid exit from Afghanistan would still be premature.

"The Afghan society is not yet prepared to take full responsibility for the security," he said.

Rasmussen was addressing a session of NATO's parliamentary assembly in Bulgaria.

His comments come despite rising calls for a faster draw-down by critics of the US war strategy. Foreign troops are preparing to begin handing over security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

However, senior US and NATO officials have signaled that foreign troops will remain in the country beyond 2014.

Washington says the transition does not mean that Afghan forces will be in charge everywhere.

US President Barack Obama has promised to keep American forces in Afghanistan even after other Western countries withdraw their troops.

This is while Obama had pledged a major drawdown from Afghanistan by July 2011. Experts have described the new contradictory transition dates as a devastating truth for Americans.

Thousands of Afghans have so far lost their lives due to military operations by foreign troops since the 2001 US-led invasion.

The US invaded Afghanistan with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region, however, after nine years the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded towards Pakistan.

Analysts say the US is looking for an excuse to expand its military operations in the troubled South and Central Asian region to secure bases near Russia and China.

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