Leon Panetta: US Aims To Switch Away From Combat Role In Afghanistan Next Year

Source: ABC News

American troops will still leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta laid out a plan today that by late next year could see U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan switching from a combat role to a training mission.

Traveling to a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Panetta provided reporters accompanying him with the clearest schedule yet for how the alliance plans to transition the lead for security in Afghanistan to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.

”Hopefully, by mid- to the latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make … a transition from a combat role to a training, advice and assist role,” Panetta said, ”which is basically fulfilling what Lisbon was all about.”

NATO leaders agreed at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, that Afghan security forces should take over security responsibility in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, bringing an end to a mission that has dragged on for more than a decade.

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