NATO-led forces combat mission to end in 2013: President Karzai

Kabul, Dec 15 (IANS) The combat mission of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will end in 2013 and Afghan forces will take the charge of security of the entire country, President Hamid Karzai said Saturday.

Addressing a conference of Afghan ambassadors and diplomats in his fortified palace, he stated that the NATO-led force leaves Afghanistan in 2014 and there will be change in Afghanistan's relations with the world, reported Xinhua.

"There is no need to worry over the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. You speak with confidence to any country," Karzai told the conference, saying the pull-out of foreign troops from Afghanistan would not affect the security situation in the country and rather would contribute in stabilizing the security.

He also asked the NATO-led troops to leave Afghan villages for their bases on the way to their respective countries.

The security transition process of NATO-led force to Afghan forces which began in mid 2011 will be completed by the end of 2014. However, the Afghan defense ministry has been trying to complete the process by the end of 2013.

President Karzai in his speech described US as Afghanistan's important ally in the world and India as its important ally in the region.

However, he noted that Afghanistan wants to have a balanced policy in its foreign relations.

The Afghan leader also pointed out that Afghanistan has very cordial relations with Russia, China and all its neighbours including Iran and Pakistan and wants it to further grow in the years to come.

Updated Date: Dec 15, 2012 23:16 PM

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