Yesterday, The NATO and ISAF Foreign Ministers wrapped up a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, on a roadmap for transition to Afghan lead. From a NATO press release…

On 23 April, NATO and ISAF Foreign Ministers agreed on a common approach to help the Afghan government increasingly take more responsibility for its own affairs, starting in 2010. The transition process will enable the Afghan Government to progressively exercise its sovereignty, with the continuing support of NATO-ISAF. This process will not be driven by the calendar, but when the conditions allow. It must be sustainable and irreversible.

The criteria for deciding on transition will be assessed across all three pillars of the Afghan National Development Strategy; security, governance and development. Ministers stressed the continuing long-term commitment of NATO to Afghanistan.

“We also need to be clear about what transition means and doesn’t mean, ” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “Transition means that Afghan authorities take the lead, and we move into a supportive role. But it doesn’t mean a rush for the exit.”

This decision follows extensive discussions with the Afghan authorities. Now, NATO and ISAF officials will work closely with their Afghan and international counterparts in Kabul to develop the concept for endorsement by the Afghan Government and the international community at the conference in Kabul this summer. The aim is to launch the process in time for the NATO summit in Lisbon in November.

It’s interesting how NATO spun the confab, particularly: “Transition means that Afghan authorities take the lead, and we move into a supportive role. But it doesn’t mean a rush for the exit.”

Various news organizations weren’t so charitable…

Here’s a Reuters video clip: NATO agrees Afghan handover

From the AP:

Allies aim to start handover of power to Afghans

Fearful of losing public support for the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. and NATO on Friday agreed to start transferring control of the country back to its leaders by year’s end but acknowledged that achieving stability will take decades.

If successful, the transition plan approved by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and representatives of the 27 other NATO countries would enable President Barack Obama to meet his target date of July 2011 for starting to bring American troops home.

The stakes are high. If the plan fails, public support in Europe, the U.S. and among Afghans themselves could further erode or even collapse.

Much depends not only on improved NATO military performance but also on political reconciliation between the Taliban and Afghan’s central government. The allies must quickly improve the training and performance of the Afghan army and police, and strengthen Afghan institutions weakened by decades of conflict.

Clinton on Friday offered an optimistic assessment of the approach, which NATO hopes Afghan President Hamid Karzai will endorse in July at an international conference in Kabul.

Once approved, NATO would officially implement the plan at a summit, possibly in conjunction with a public announcement of the first provinces to be transferred to Afghan control, said Mark Sedwill, the senior NATO civilian in Kabul.

"We believe that with sufficient attention, training and mentoring, the Afghans themselves are perfectly capable of defending themselves against insurgents," Clinton told a news conference. "Does that mean it will be smooth sailing? I don’t think so. Look at Iraq."

Asked whether any plan to turn power over to Afghanistan’s sometimes dysfunctional, corrupt and resource-poor government was viable, Sedwill told reporters; "It’s far from certain."

From Al Jazeera

Nato discusses Afghan exit

Nato leaders have met to discuss their exit strategy for the war in Afghanistan, stating that they are on track to reduce their involvement in the country next year.

The meeting of the 28-member states in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, on Friday, delegates talked about strengthening Afghan forces in order to allow international troops to withdraw during 2011.

The target of transferring the work of international military and civilian personnel to local staff by the summer of next year was set last December by Barack Obama, the US president.

After the talks on Friday, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Nato’s secretary general, said that responsibility for Afghanistan will begin to be transferred to the Afghans this year, with foreign troops to pull out in mid 2011.

"Where it occurs, the transition must be not just sustainable but irreversible," he said.

At the opening of the talks on Thursday, Rasmussen said: "The future of this mission is clear and visible: more Afghan capability and more Afghan leadership."

"The Afghan government is taking more responsibility for running the country. We’re preparing to begin the process of handing over leadership, where conditions allow, back to the Afghan people," he said.

"Increasingly this year the momentum will be ours."

Momentum…? What momentum?

Even Obama has admitted recently: the Taliban is stronger than ever.

While the Taliban is popular, Karzai’s Gov’t isn’t…

The Afghan National Police is the gang that can’t shoot straight… After we spent six billion dollars…!

The "Afghan National Army" is just the Northern Alliance(Over 60% Tajik) in very expensive NATO provided uniforms.

Now, the Nato countries are getting jittery after the recent fall of the Dutch Government over Afghanistan…

The Canadians have already said they’ll be gone in 2011…

One can only hope we follow them out of Afghanistan…!