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Oct 9, 2012

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NATO Defence Minister's Meet and Afghanistan

NATO Defence Minister's meet in Brussels on 08 and 09  October is expected to discuss the progress made in the mission with ISAF partners. This will no doubt include the new challenges such as Insider or Green on Blue Attacks and how to meet them.

The ministers are expected to endorse the first phase of planning for NATO’s post-2014 training, advice and assistance mission to the Afghan forces. They are to approve the broad framework for the mission, which will serve as guidance for military experts as they take the planning process ahead. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has set a goal to reach agreement on a detailed outline of the mission by early next year  and to finalise the operational plan well before the end of 2013.
Plans to hand over full responsibility for security to the Afghans by the end of 2014 remain on course. “Our strategy is to build up the capacity of the Afghan security forces and gradually hand over to them lead responsibility for the security across the country,” the Secretary General said ahead of the ministerial. The timeline is to complete this transition by the end of 2014 . At that time, the current ISAF combat mission will end. From 2015 it will be followed by the NATO-led training, assist and advice mission as per the alliance pre conference press release.

NATO redefined mission will require a commitment by alliance countries, how much each will contribute and what will be the profile will be debated over a period. This will have to factor in the reduction in commitment by some NATO members and a shift in the overall US doctrine of global engagement which entails a lighter footprint in non vital areas of American interest. This will place pressure on regonal countries as India who will have to take the load. How do NATO and regional countries form a compact if any will therefore be important. NATO already has a compact with Russia, it may attempt to pull in other countries as India into the framework.

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