NATO leaders said on Sunday that the treaty will shift combat roles to Afghan troops throughout the country by mid – 2013. The leaders, who met in Chicago, charted a course out of the notorious Afghan war that has gradually lost support from the people of America and the world.
Throughout the meeting, President Obama fought to stabilize the U.S relationship with Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is pertinent to mention here that a pact to re-open the NATO supply route via Pakistan to Afghanistan did not make the grade just as President Obama started discussions about stopping NATO’s fighting role in the war in Afghanistan.
“For all the twists and turns in this relationship, we now very much want to get to very much the same place. The discussion today was very much about what do we have to do over the next two years to close out our piece of the war,” an official of Obama administration said, according to the New York Times’ report.
Polls show that majority of Americans oppose the Afghan war, therefore Mr. Obama, his re-election in the balance, emphasized on putting an end to the Afghan war. However, Marine Gen. John Allen, who is the NATO Commander in Afghanistan, conveyed a contrasting message about the war in Afghanistan. He made it clear that U.S troops will fight in Afghanistan until NATO winds up its combat operations in Dec. 2014.
According to Reuters’ report, “While foreign forces will continue to fight the Taliban and other militants as necessary - and it may be very necessary - the new mission for U.S. and NATO troops will assume a new focus on advising and supporting Afghan soldiers.”
On the other hand, Pakistan’s President Zardari, who wished to lift his standing during his meeting with President Obama, was likely to leave devoid of any gain as both allies continue to experience the effects of a deadly US raid against Pakistani troops around the Pak-Afghan border the previous Nov. The attack had left dozens of Pakistani soldiers dead, but Mr. Obama did not apologize, the demand of Pakistani people and leaders.
Pakistan shut down the NATO supply routes into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the air-strike, leading to a strained US-Pakistan relationship. According to Pakistani leaders, the U.S has constantly attacked their sovereignty with drone attacks and other actions.
Mr. Karzai was also present at the summit who said he would struggle to make Afghanistan a self sufficient country.