Friday, October 23, 2009

Wire: Gen. McChrystal to Make Surprise NATO Briefing

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan planned an unexpected appearance Friday at a meeting of NATO defense ministers focused on making Afghan security forces responsible for fighting the war there.

Officials said Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal was to brief NATO ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on his view of the war in Afghanistan, according to an Associated Press report.

A document provided to AP outlines formal NATO approval of plans to eventually give Afghan army and police officials control over a war that is in its ninth year.

The plans, AP said, specifically do not require any withdrawal of the 104,000 U.S. and NATO troops that will be in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Instead, they officially affirm NATO's intent to shift from being in charge of security and rebuilding in the war-torn nation to taking a backup role to Afghan officials, according to the document.
"This is not associated with any force withdrawal or predetermined decrease in force level requirements," the document written by NATO's public diplomacy division states. "It will entail a change in the nature of the security assistance provided to the Afghans and the balance of responsibility."

It described a gradual transition of power to Afghan forces even as U.S. and NATO troops continue to battle the Taliban and other insurgents. The plans to do provide a deadline for the transition.
Last month, Gen. McChrystal, in a strategy review now 55 days old, asked President Barack Obama for up to 80,000 additional U.S. troops for the fight.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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