No rush for withdrawal of US-led troops

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen NewsLIneToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

Date  10 Oct.2012
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the military alliance is in “no rush” for the withdrawal of US-led foreign soldiers from war-torn Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, the head of NATO said that recent setbacks such as the rise in “green-on-blue” insider attacks should not be “misinterpreted” and “seen as a rush for the exit.”

The statement was made during a press conference at the end of a two-day NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

Rasmussen added that the planned 2014 withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan was on schedule and that the process would include the drawdown and redeployment of soldiers.

Recent reports say attacks by Afghan soldiers or police, or militants disguised in uniforms, have claimed the lives of at least 50 NATO troops so far this year.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has named head of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, as NATO’s new Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. He will be replaced as US commander of international forces in Afghanistan by Joseph Dunford, who is currently US Marine Corps deputy commander.

Earlier in the month, Rasmussen said the insider attacks “undermined trust and confidence” between Afghan forces and US-led coalition troops.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains across the country.

The increasing number of military casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger in the United States and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war.

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