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NATO pledges long term commitment in Aghanistan.

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (PAN): Reaffirming its long-term commitment and to the drawdown schedule till 2014,NATO on Monday agreed to another coalition-led mission inAfghanistan after the deadline -- primarily focusing on training, advising and assistance missions.

"In line with the strategy which we agreed at the Lisbon Summit, ISAF's mission will be concluded by the end of 2014. But thereafter Afghanistan will not stand alone.

"We reaffirm that our close partnership will continue beyond the end of the transition period," leaders of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members said in a joint declaration at the end of the summit meeting in Chicago.

"We agree to work towards establishing such a new NATO-led mission. We will ensure that the new mission has a sound legal basis, such as a United Nations Security Council Resolution," the declaration said.

The meeting was attended by leaders of more than 60 countries including the host President of the United States Barack Obama.

Noting that sustaining a sufficient and capable ANSF is the responsibility of the Government of Afghanistan supported by the international community, the declaration said as part of the wider International Community, and building upon existing mechanisms, they will play their part in developing appropriate, coherent and effective funding mechanisms and expenditure arrangements for all strands of the ANSF.

"As the Afghan economy and the revenues of the Afghan government grow, Afghanistan's yearly share will increase progressively from at least $500m in 2015, with the aim that it can assume, no later than 2024, full financial responsibility for its own security forces. In the light of this, during the transformation decade, we expect international donors will reduce their financial contributions commensurate with the assumption by the Afghan government of increasing financial responsibility," the declaration said.

According to the declaration, a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan will positively contribute to economic and social development in the wider region, and deliver progress in the fight against narcotics trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism and crime. In this context, regional cooperation and support for stability in Afghanistan is key, it noted.

The declaration also stressed on the need of good governance, effective fight against corruption, protection of human rights in particular those of the women and children and called for free and fair elections.

Noting that there is more work to be done, the NATO-led ISAF countries resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress they have made during the past decade.

"The nations contributing to ISAF will therefore continue to support Afghanistan on its path towards self-reliance in security, improved governance, and economic and social development," it said.

"This will prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorists that threaten Afghanistan, the region, and the world. A secure and stable Afghanistan will make an important contribution to its region, in which security, stability and development are interlinked," the declaration said.

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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:May 21, 2012
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