Karzai wants 2014 security handover, NATO not willing to leave

Karzai want responsibility for the country's security by 2014, but NATO head insists "suppoting role" in the country.

Karzai wants 2014 security handover, NATO not willing to leave

Afghans want responsibility for the country's security by 2014, President Hamid Karzai told an international donors' conference on Tuesday, appealing for more control of $13 billion earmarked for development.

Karzai spoke at an international conference on Afghanistan invasion where representatives of 70 nations and organizations were endorsing a plan for how Afghan security forces would eventually take charge, but it's still unclear when the transition would actually begin.

"I remain determined that our Afghan national security forces will be responsible for all military and law enforcement operations throughout our country by 2014," he told the conference.

The US-led invasion is killing record numbers of Western soldiers and the Taliban control large swathes of the south even as the United States leads a surge of foreign troops to 150,000 in weeks under a counter-insurgency push.

Thousands of Afghan police, military and security forces, backed up by NATO forces, put Kabul under security lockdown to guard against any possible Taliban attack aiming at the conference at the heavily protected foreign ministry.

The West is under increasing public pressure to justify their money and troops in a foreign invasion where the war has killed at least 380 foreign soldiers so far this year.

Karzai said the international community had committed enough money to see Afghanistan through the next three years and called for greater control of the multi-billion-dollar aid budget for his impoverished country.

"We all agree that steady transition to Afghan leadership and ownership is the key to sustainability," he said.

"Our systems are strong and improving, and we are committed to working with donors to give them the confidence needed to channel resources through the Afghan budget."

Since US overthrew Taliban government in 2001, only 20 percent of pledged funds -- an estimated total of 40 billion dollars -- had been channelled through the Afghan budget, leading to serious corruption among the rest.

"Responsible conditions-based transition"

Clinton said Obama wants to begin a "responsible conditions-based transition to Afghan security leadership in July 2011."

"Toward this end, the Afghan government, working with NATO, has developed a broad framework for the process that will help create conditions for transition, province by province, district by district, so the Afghan security forces can assume full responsibility for security in the transitioned areas," she said.

Clinton said the July 2011 date reflects "both our sense of urgency and the strength of our resolve."

"The transition process is too important to push off indefinitely," she said. "But this date is the start of a new phase, not the end of our involvement.

"Nato role after possible handover"

Afghanistan and the United States are trying 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.

Karzai won endorsement from Afghan leaders last month to start peace talks with insurgent leaders and called on the international community to back his efforts -- despite at least initial scepticism from the United States.

"We hope those who have taken arms against our country will see the wisdom of pursuing their legitimate aspirations through peaceful means. We expect our international partners to endorse and support our peace initiatives," Karzai said.

But, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen emphasised that the alliance would remain in Afghanistan even after Afghans take over responsibility for security.

Rasmussen said the alliance will never allow the Taliban to topple the government of Afghanistan.

Rasmussen said transition would be based on "conditions, not calendars" with NATO forces working to train Afghan police and army to take the lead in protecting the country.

"And when it happens, international forces won't leave; they will simply move into a supporting role," he said.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Temmuz 2010, 12:20

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