World

February 6, 2012

NATO ministers agree Afghan transition on track

by Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels all agreed on a clear message: as the transition to Afghan security lead proceeds, the process “reflects what Lisbon was all about,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Feb. 2.

Panetta was referring to the way forward in Afghanistan as agreed upon by President Barack Obama and NATO’s other heads of state and government at the alliance’s November 2010 summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

“As an alliance, obviously, we are all fully committed to the Lisbon framework – in together, out together – [and] we’re committed to a transition to Afghan control,” Panetta said. “As the president has said, by 2014 this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.”

Consultations are evolving among the NATO and non-NATO nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force effort – 50 in all – about how best to continue transferring parts of Afghanistan to Afghan security force-led operations, the secretary added, with announcements of more transfers likely at the May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced in November 2009 his wish to see Afghan army and police forces take lead security responsibility across Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal [Dari and Pashtu for “transition”] Board, or JANIB, was established at the July 2010 Kabul conference to assess districts and provinces for transition.

Afghan and NATO leaders agreed to the proposed transition process in Lisbon. Karzai announced the first round, or “tranche,” of transition areas in March, and the second in November.

The pace of transition remains conditions-based, Panetta said. “When you’re in war, when you’re in combat, every step is conditions-based,” he added.

Officials have stressed since the process was announced that transition must be sustainable and irreversible. The secretary said yesterday that when the current, second tranche is complete, more than half of the Afghan people will live under their nation’s governance and security lead.

“We hope that the [Afghan} forces will be ready to take the combat lead in all of Afghanistan sometime in 2013,” Panetta said. “Obviously, we will have to continue consultation with our allies and our Afghan partners about the best way to accomplish that goal.”

The secretary noted these discussions demonstrate the strategy is working and progress is happening. Clearly, however, ISAF forces will remain combat-ready and engage in combat operations as necessary throughout the transition, he said.

As Afghan forces take over operational control in more areas – leading patrols, setting tactics, and identifying enemy targets – ISAF troops will be at their side to support and advise them on those efforts, and continue to train and build their capabilities, Panetta said.

Defense ministers today agreed the coalition is “headed in the right direction” in Afghanistan, Panetta said. Talks will continue, he added, on the right level of funding for and size of Afghan forces to sustain their nation’s security long-term.

“There’s much hard fighting ahead here,” the secretary said. “We need to keep the momentum up, and we need to keep the enemy on its heels.”

A strong partnership with NATO is a pillar of U.S. defense strategy, Panetta said. More defense consultations will take place tomorrow, framing discussion for decisions to be taken at the Chicago summit, he added.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today Afghanistan is NATO’s top operational priority. After today’s session, he told reporters, “Transition is a road that ISAF and the Afghan forces will walk together – every step of the way.”

Afghanistan is a serious issue for NATO and the entire international community, Rasmussen said, “because we all have an interest in making sure Afghanistan is stable and secure.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>