At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to an enduring partnership between NATO and Afghanistan that would last beyond the transition of full security responsibility for Afghanistan from ISAF to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. At the Chicago Summit, leaders reaffirmed this partnership, sending a clear message to the Afghan people that as they stand up to take responsibility for their own country, they will not stand alone.
In Chicago, leaders discussed how we can further build the NATO-Afghanistan partnership. Allies and partners agreed on the outlines of a new NATO mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan forces after transition of full security responsibility to the Afghans is completed by the end of 2014. As transition proceeds and ISAF forces gradually return home, insurgents will continue to find a steadfast, highly capable Afghan forces standing against them, with the coalition’s active support. In addition, by publicly outlining NATO’s plans for our future presence, we are being transparent with Afghanistan’s neighbors about our efforts, and we look to them to continue to provide critical regional support to Afghanistan.
In addition to our efforts within NATO, President Obama signed the historic U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement with President Karzai in Kabul on May 2. This agreement provides a long-term political framework for relations between the United States and Afghanistan as we look beyond a responsible end to the war. Over the past six months, Afghanistan has signed other partnership agreements with numerous countries around the world, many of them NATO Allies or ISAF partners, including: the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Australia, and India. Afghanistan also is negotiating a long-term partnership agreement with the European Union. The United States supports this web of long-term partnerships alongside the NATO commitment and believes they will help support Afghanistan after the security transition, ensuring that the international community remains engaged in support of the Afghan people in the years following the conclusion of ISAF’s mission.
While the NATO Summit is focusing primarily on security issues, we and our Allies are equally committed to supporting a sustainable Afghan economy that depends less and less on donor support over time. At Camp David, G-8 leaders discussed how the international community can best support Afghanistan’s economic development. On July 8 in Tokyo, we look forward to a meeting with Afghanistan and other international donors and hearing Afghanistan’s detailed plans for its future economic and social development, including the reforms required to increase economic opportunities.