NATO defence ministerial meeting started its two-day session in Brussels to discuss cyber defence and NATO mission in Afghanistan.
The alliance will hold talks on the NATO mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday, which will focus on progress of the Afghan mission, specifically transition to Afghan security lead and planning for the new mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces after 2014.
NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “All 50 members of the ISAF coalition, and with the Afghan defence minister, to discuss progress in Afghanistan, and the preparation of a new and different NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces after 2014.”
Rasmussen said, “I expect that at this meeting we will take an important step forward, by endorsing the concept of our operations. This will guide our military planners as they finalise preparations in the course of the coming months.”
In response to a question regarding the exact number of NATO troops presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, Rasmussen said, “I wouldn’t expect this meeting to make decisions on the exact number of troops and trainers after 2014. We will adopt what we call a concept of operations and a concept means broad guidelines for how we will shape the future Resolute Support mission from 2015. Certain elements are clear. It will be very different mission; it will be a non-combat mission.”
“The number of troops and trainers will be significantly lower than in the current ISAF mission and it’s also our intention to ensure a regional foot-print, that is a number of regional training centres. So within this framework our military planners will continue preparations of this mission and then at a later stage we will make decisions on the exact number,” Rasmussen added.
Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and the UN Secretary General’s Special representative Jan Kubis are expected to attend.