Ministers agreed that the process of transition to Afghan security lead is on track. They also reaffirmed the shared goal for Afghan security forces to have full responsibility for security across the country by the end of 2014, as agreed by NATO Heads of State in Lisbon in 2010. "That goal stands, for every single one of us", the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed.
“Ministers agreed that, as the Afghan forces continue to take the lead in more and more areas, the main focus of our mission will also continue to evolve – from combat to training, advice and assistance . And how and when that happens is something we will continue to discuss at the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012", Rasmussen said after the meeting. .
He emphasised that transition is an evolving process that will happen in close coordination between NATO, our partners and the Afghan authorities and underlined that transition "depends on the security realities on the ground".
The Secretary General made clear that while ISAF's role will evolve, its support to the Afghans during this critical period will remain firm: "Even after transition has begun across the whole of the country, we will continue to support Afghans to make it happen. That means training. it means assistance. And where necessary, it also means fighting alongside our Afghan partners".
Ministers were joined by Adbul Wardak, Defence Minister of Afghanistan, Ambassador Simon Gass, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan and General John R. Allen, Commander of ISAF, who briefed on the current operational situation. During the meeting Ministers also had preliminary talks on the future size and configuration of the Afghan Security Forces and the likely tasks of a follow-on mission for NATO and ISAF after transition is complete. These discussions will pave the way for further decision making on the transition process at the Chicago Summit in May.