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262 words - June 21, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Milestone 2013 was a long-anticipated development since the 2010 Lisbon NATO Summit. "Afghans now are in the lead for security throughout their country, and this inflection point points the way toward a stable nation," the commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford said on June 18.
NATO/ISAF forces will continue to "train, advise and assist" Afghan forces till full transition scheduled on December 2014, supporting the development of an effective and self-reliant Afghan security apparatus able to secure the presidential elections set for April 5, 2014. If everything seemed fine on the military stage, it suddenly got complicated on the political stage.
The Afghan Taliban opened a political office "for purpose of negotiations" in Doha, Qatar and the United States' government acknowledged it will indeed hold direct talks with them soon. The US Department of State (DOS) reiterated that in January, Presidents Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai jointly called on Qatar to facilitate this initiative. Yet President Karzai announced he is suspending the US bilateral security agreement talks as a result of this, unveiling deeper political frictions between his government and the Obama administration than previously thought.
This is just "bumps in the road," said DOS's spokesperson Jen Psaki; just "some concerns about the manner in which the Taliban opened it, some of the language that they used," President Obama said in Berlin. Afghan officials in Kabul strongly disagreed and denounced the "contradiction between acts and statements made by the US."
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