NATO Secretary General welcomes Afghan transition announcement
I welcome President Karzai’s announcement of the fifth and final group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts to undergo transition in the coming months. This decision marks an important milestone, when Afghan soldiers and police will take the lead for security across the country.
This is a day of pride for all Afghans and the 50 nations which contribute to ISAF. At the Lisbon Summit in 2010, we set out an ambitious roadmap with the Afghan Government to gradually hand over responsibility for security to the Afghan forces by the end of 2014. And today is an important marker for the success of that strategy.
As Afghan forces step forward, ISAF’s role will shift from combat to support. We will no longer plan, execute or lead combat operations. By the end of 2014 our combat mission will be completed, and a new mission will begin. Together with our partners, we are planning to continue to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces. And NATO will also play its part in the broader international efforts to ensure the long-term sustainment of the Afghan security forces. NATO and Afghanistan, along with our partners, will continue this journey together, based on a new relationship that will remain strong for the years to come.