May 31, 2013

NATO members must keep working with Afghan counterparts to ensure they’re ready to take over security duties next year, President Obama said Friday.

“We’ve seen great progress in the Afghan National Security Forces. We want to continue that progress,” Obama said Friday in a statement with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Washington. “And central to that will be those NATO members, who are contributing, continuing to work effectively with their Afghan counterparts so that moving into next year we have a successful Afghan election and we continue transition until the end of 2014 whereby our combat roles will be completed.”

Obama said he and Rasmussen discussed plans for the next 18 months and steps that could be taken after NATO troops leave Afghanistan in December 2014 “to ensure that Afghan security forces are effective and control their own borders” while NATO can be assured that Afghanistan won’t be used as a base for terrorism.

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