Hagel: Planning on Track for NATO’s Post-2014 Afghan Training Mission

NATO’s planning for Resolute Support—the Afghan training mission that will commence following the end of the alliance’s combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014—is on track, said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday at NATO headquarters in Brussels during the final day of the alliance’s ministerial meetings. However, he emphasized during a press briefing the importance of quickly completing a bilateral security agreement with the Afghan government. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters on Oct. 23 following the meetings that Afghan forces are now leading more than 1,000 security patrols a day—most without any support from NATO forces. “All this will put them in a strong position as they prepare to assume full responsibility for security at the end of 2014,” he said. Hagel also met with Russia’s defense chief Sergey Shoygu in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss issues like missile defense cooperation and the civil war in Syria. During the meeting, Hagel encouraged Shoygu “to continue working with Syria to ensure its full cooperation” in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little in a readout of the meeting. (Hagel transcript)