NATO, US See Lengthy Stay in Afghanistan

Combat operations might end in 2004, followed by support mission
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2010 2:32 PM CST
NATO, US See Lengthy Stay in Afghanistan
President Obama, center, with Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon take part in the US/EU Summit in Lisbon.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The NATO summit resulted in lots of talk about "transition goals" for Afghanistan, but the only thing for certain is that US and NATO troops aren't going anywhere anytime soon. The official proclamation promises that allied forces will push to end combat operations by the end of 2014—but only if the "security situation" permits. Even if it does, an unspecified number of forces will remain in support roles for an unspecified length of time beyond 2014.

As President Obama put it: "My goal is to make sure that, by 2014, we have transitioned, Afghans are in the lead, and it is a goal to make sure that we are not still engaged in combat operations of the sort that we're involved with now." Followed by the "but": "Certainly, our footprint will have been significantly reduced. But beyond that, you know, it's hard to anticipate exactly what is going to be necessary." Details in the New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and BBC.
(More NATO stories.)

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