Friday, February 3, 2012

In 2013, US expects shift to training role in Afghanistan

The United States hopes to shift its military role in Afghanistan from combat to training during the second half of 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday.

But he said the US administration wanted to see all the NATO allies in Afghanistan -- including France -- "respect" a strategy adopted at a summit in Lisbon in November 2010, which calls for handing over security duties to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

"Hopefully by the mid-to-latter part of 2013, we'll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a train and advise and assist role, which is basically fulfilling what Lisbon was all about," Panetta told reporters aboard his plane en route to Brussels.

"We all went in here together and we'll all go out together, but we have to do it on the basis of a strong alliance and a strong commitment that was made in Lisbon," said Panetta, who was due to meet NATO defense ministers in his visit to Belgium. Read More