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Updated: July 18, 2010 15:37 IST

Foreign forces to quit Afghanistan by 2014: report

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Gen. David Petraeus holds the ISAF flag, after taking over as Commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in Kabul recently. File photo
Gen. David Petraeus holds the ISAF flag, after taking over as Commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in Kabul recently. File photo

The United States-led international forces fighting in Afghanistan are likely to withdraw from the war-torn nation by 2014 in a phased manner, a British media report said today.

The phased security transfer of the battle-plagued country to the Afghan National Security Forces will begin this year, a leaked communique, circulated ahead of the International Conference on Afghanistan to be held in Kabul on Tuesday, said.

“The international community expressed its support for the President of Afghanistan’s objective that the ANSF should lead and conduct military operations in all provinces by the end of 2014,” it said.

The report based on the communique, published in The Independent, reveals that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will announce the timetable for a “conditions-based and phased transition” at the Kabul conference on Tuesday.

The Tuesday meeting, which is likely to draw a roadmap for the way ahead for Kabul, will be attended by the Indian Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and foreign ministers from more 70 countries.

An agreed version of the document, marked “not for circulation”, was given to senior diplomats yesterday by United Nations Special Representative in Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura.

The statement promises that the countries involved in resurrecting Afghanistan will continue to “provide the support necessary to increase security during this time, and the continued support in training, equipping and providing interim financing to the ANSF at every level to take on the task of securing their country“.

The document further says that the Afghan government and the international community “agreed to jointly assess provinces, with the aim of announcing by the end of 2010 that the process of transition is under way.”

The decision by the international forces was expected as the U.S. has already announced to pullout by the summer 2011 and Hague recently saying that he would be “very surprised” if Afghan forces do not take over security by 2014, while the British Prime Minister David Cameron wanting his troops home by 2015.

The document also outlines short—term goals for coalition troops that include combating the opium trade by maintaining the provinces which are free from its cultivation and increasing the number of poppy—free provinces in Afghanistan to 24 within 12 months. It also describes lucid elections in future as a matter of paramount importance, the newspaper said.

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