NATO chief hopes Afghan handover to start in November

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking to reporters in Brussels, June 7, 2010.

From Barry Hatton, the AP:  NATO’s secretary-general hopes the alliance can begin handing over control of some Afghan provinces to local authorities beginning in November.

"We will stay (in Afghanistan) as long as it takes to finish our job, but obviously that’s not forever," NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a visit to Lisbon, Portugal, where a NATO summit will be held Nov. 19-20.

"I do hope that we will be able to make an announcement at the Lisbon summit that transition can start in some provinces," he said Friday, without elaborating. …

Fogh Rasmussen said that date was an opportunity to review the effects of this year’s NATO troop increase "but it will definitely not be a withdrawal from Afghanistan."

"Our mission will end when the Afghans are capable to govern and to secure their own country themselves," Fogh Rasmussen said. "Obviously, Afghanistan will remain our most important operation for quite some time."  (photo: AP)

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