SANTIAGO, Chile — Any U.S. forces remaining in Afghanistan past the end of 2014 — the target for completion of the transition of security control throughout the country to Afghan forces — would be there in a training or “advise and assist” capacity, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said.
Gates spoke at a news conference with Chilean Defense Minister Jaime Ravinet after the two defense leaders met at the Gen. Bernardo O’Higgins Military Academy.
The United States has embraced the goal set by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that by the end of 2014, primary responsibility for security across all of Afghanistan would have been transitioned to Afghan forces, Gates said.
“I anticipate that the international force — some fraction of it — will remain to provide training and to provide support for the Afghans,” he said. “But I think anything that remains after 2014 would be very modest and very much focused on the kind of training and ‘advise and assist’ role that we’re now taking on in Iraq.”
This afternoon, Gates will observe demonstrations by Chilean special operations forces. Tomorrow, he’ll head to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where he and Ravinet will join their counterparts from nations throughout the Western Hemisphere at the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)