by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers with non-NATO ISAF Contributing Nations
Good morning colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, in this meeting of the North Atlantic Council with ISAF Partners, we will discuss transition in Afghanistan and our enduring commitment to Afghanistan.
But before we begin I would like to pay tribute to the service and the sacrifices of our troops in Afghanistan. And to the members of the Afghan National Security Forces who work alongside them every single day.
Cooperation between coalition and Afghan forces takes a lot of trust. And it has led to real progress.
Slowly but surely, our efforts are bearing fruit. As Afghans gradually step forward to assume responsibility for their country’s own security, NATO and ISAF will gradually step back. Our role will continue to evolve from one of combat to one of training and support but we will conduct combat operations throughout the transition period.
And at our Summit in Chicago in May, we will reaffirm our determination to support Afghanistan through transition and beyond.
This is a challenging task. But if Afghanistan is to be stable and secure, then our commitment must remain steady and resolute. NATO and our ISAF partners remain committed to helping Afghans achieve the future they want, because it is important for them, for the stability of the region, and for our own security.
And with that, I thank the press for joining us.