NATO chief and Norway’s PM call for Afghan self-reliance

From left middle: Newly appointed Minister of Defense Grete Faremo, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen visit with Norwegian Soldiers in Norway on Nov. 6. Photo: Mil.no.

Helping Afghans claim their future was the main theme of a meeting between NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo on Nov. 6, reports Monster and Critics

“The way forward is that the Afghan people and government take responsibility for security in Afghanistan,” Rasmussen said. “Our mission in Afghanistan ends when Afghanistan is capable to take charge of its security. That is what we will help with.”

The former Danish prime minister has been NATO chief since August. The visit to Oslo was the latest in his tour of NATO members aimed at shoring up support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg welcomed the fact that the Afghan election commission had made a decision on the election and said that Oslo would cooperate with President Hamid Karzai. “There are demanding challenges in Afghanistan,” he said, noting “increased violence” and the recent presidential elections that were marred by allegations of fraud. Both Stoltenberg and Rasmussen underlined that Karzai and the government need to do more to tackle corruption and ensure social and economic development.

Stoltenberg hinted Norway, which has 500 troops in Afghanistan, would not be boosting its troop commitment to the country. “We are the country whose military contribution is the highest per capita,” Norway’s PM said.

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