Gates Addresses Role in Afghanistan After Security Transition

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)

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