By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The upcoming NATO summit in Chicago will help determine the long-term commitment to Afghanistan beyond 2014 and create a network of bilateral strategic partnerships, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force said today.
“As you know, I’m here in the United States to mark a significant moment which has been created by the momentum and the success of this [Afghanistan] campaign,” Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen told attendees at the 2012 Joint Warfighting Conference here via video teleconference. “For there will be a NATO summit in Chicago in just a few days where alliance members, partners and friends will come together to establish a vision for our enduring presence in Afghanistan and the continued development of Afghanistan’s own security forces.”
Allen said representatives at the May 20-21 summit will determine their commitments to securing Afghanistan beyond 2014, and serve to reassure the Afghan people the international community will remain committed.
“As a coalition, and as a collective international community, we will say to the Afghan people with one voice, ‘We are not leaving you,’” Allen said. “And we will highlight our commitment to the Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014.”
The Chicago NATO summit also will serve as a medium to “reiterate that a stable, peaceful, secure and prosperous Afghanistan is not just good for the Afghan people, not just [good for] the Afghan government, but is good for the region as well,” Allen said.
Allen credited the support of NATO and its key partnerships for the success of the campaign in Afghanistan.
“As the commander of the coalition of nearly 130,000 forces from 50 different countries, it is my honor to command the largest coalition engaged in warfare since World War II and perhaps in modern history,” he said. “For ISAF, the cohesion of our coalition is the true strategic center of gravity for our campaign in Afghanistan.”
The Chicago NATO summit will feature a series of bilateral agreements “that will create a network of strategic partnerships, bilaterally, around the world with Afghanistan,” the general said.
“The United States, and our key partner nations, including France, the United Kingdom and Italy, have already signed strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, making a long-term commitment to that country’s security, development and governance,” Allen said. “And soon, other countries will sign agreements as well.”