U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced that it is essential for NATO allies to maintain their commitments to fund Afghanistan’s security forces once Western countries cease combat in 2014.
The Secretary of State made this statement during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers and countries contributing to the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan currently held in Brussels.
Although Afghanistan’s foreign donors have previously pledged $4.1 billion a year to fund Afghan National Security Forces post-2014, there is deep concern that the European countries’ profound economic problems might prevent them from fulfilling their pledges.
In her declaration, Clinton further emphasized that the investment in Afghan security should also be coupled with supporting the country’s economic and political transition, for which countries have already promised $16 billion. Finally, Clinton added that the every nation in the region has an interest in Afghanistan’s future and, therefore, a responsibility to help secure it.
Echoing her statements, Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai stated that Afghan authorities are aware of the current financial distresses facing by many of its donors, but emphasized that the the $4.1 billion would ensure security not only in Afghanistan, but also the region and the world.
NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, announced during a press conference that not only had 52 countries reaffirmed their pledge to support the Afghan forces, but that the NATO foreign ministers had agreed to "develop further a funding mechanism to complement the broader international efforts within a robust accountability framework.” He added that the Afghan government assumes the primary responsibility for funding the Afghan forces and shall gradually supply larger shares of the resources, as the country's economic state improves.
After discussing Afghanistan, NATO foreign ministers also organized a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission with Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze. Yesterday, NATO tackled its future engagement to Pakistan. After commending the country for its counter-insurgency operations, Rasmussen expressed NATO's commitment to transforming its relation to Pakistan into a strategic partnership and to reinvigorate its political dialogue with the country moving beyond 2014. Finally, the ministers approved Turkey’s request to have Patriot anti-missile batteries deployed in southeastern Turkey during the next several weeks in order to protect the country from potential attacks from Syria.