NATO Chief:  ‘transition will be based on conditions, not calendars’

ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrive in Kandahar, July 19, 2010.

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  This is not a mission of choice – it is a mission of necessity. Which is why we must and will stay as long as it takes to finish our job.

Of course, the size and shape of the ISAF mission will change over time. But let no one misinterpret that for a lack of resolve. Our mission will end when – but only when – the Afghans are able to maintain security on their own.

We all want that day to come as soon as possible. Which is why I welcome the roadmap agreed today on transition to Afghan lead in security.

But transition will be based on conditions, not calendars.

NATO-ISAF will continue to train and partner with Afghan forces, so that they are able to do the job.

Transition will be done gradually — on the basis of a sober assessment of the political and security situation, so that is it irreversible.

And when it happens, international forces won’t leave; they will simply move into a supporting role.

Excerpt from Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Kabul Conference.  (photo: Getty)

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