Pakistan backs NATO's 2014 Afghanistan handover deadline

Islamabad, Nov 22(ANI): Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that he backs NATO's plans to hand over security of Afghanistan to local authorities by the end of 2014.

NATO said that it could halt combat operations in 2014 if security conditions were good enough, a proviso that Qureshi said was key to any pullout of foreign forces.

"It (the timetable) has been qualified and the qualification is that they begin the withdrawal in line with ground realities and the ability of the Afghan authorities to resume the responsibility of their security," the Daily Times quoted Qureshi, as saying.

Earlier, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had made the announcement regarding the withdrawal during a two-day summit in Lisbon.

"The aim is for the Afghan forces to be in the lead countrywide by the end of 2014. This will begin in certain districts and provinces, and based on conditions, will gradually expand throughout the country," Rasmussen had said. (ANI)

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