From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO: Last week, the Peace Jirga was held in Kabul. Despite their best attempt, the Taliban failed to disrupt it. It concluded with broad agreement among the participants – all Afghans – that there should be a political process leading to peace. That a hand should be offered to those fighting the Government, to stop fighting and take up an honourable place in Afghan society. And it agreed a package of incentives to support reconciliation and reintegration. …
Training is, in a word, key. And amongst the very many challenges we face in Afghanistan, training is turning out to be one of the real success stories.
We set up the NATO Training Mission about six months ago, building on the substantial US effort. And it is already delivering. The Afghan Army will reach this year’s target of 134,000 members three months ahead of schedule. Many of those forces are partnered with ours, including in the hotspots of Helmand and Kandahar. And we are stepping up our training effort every day.
This success is what the Taliban don’t want to see. They might think they can wait us out. But within a year or so, there will be over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police trained and ready to defend their country. And they can’t be waited out.
Excerpts from press briefing by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. (photo: NATO)