June 1, 2012 By Екаterina Markova - we-nato.org
As one of the main issues of the NATO Chicago Summit was Afghanistan beyond 2014, it was important to find out what Afghan people think about the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from their country, if they feel safe while the security responsibility will be completely taken by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). At the discussion with the Afghan Fulbright Scholars it was clicked into place that there is no common opinion even between them. While some Afghan Scholars are sure of the readiness of the ANSF to take full security responsibility, some of them worry that the situation would worsen. However, as it was said by the NATO Assistant Secretary General Public Diplomacy, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who favored us and took part in our discussion, assured that before the ISAF would leave Afghanistan, the ANSF would be trained and enough prepared to hold the security within its country independently. Moreover, it will be done step-by-step before 2014 comes. Even now the ANSF holds the security in some areas. The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, announced the intention to make the third tranche of Afghan provinces to the ANSF. And finally, as it was heard at the Summit, in any event the Alliance will follow the security in the country.
The other fact, to which I paid attention during the discussion with the Afghan Fulbright Scholars, is that Afghan people feel gratitude and express thanks to the Alliance for its mission in the country’s territory. As it was also mentioned at the Introductory remarks by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the situation with education was changed in Afghanistan. Thus, in 2001 one million people could attend school, and now about eight million Afghan people study at school, among which three million are girls.
These facts demonstrate that the Alliance and NATO partners were engaged not only in the issue of neutralization of the Taliban regime, but also in the issues of restoration normal conditions of life, of the assignment of equal opportunities to all Afghan people.
The 20th of May 2012 the Chicago Summit Declaration was adopted by the Heads of State and Government, where they also defined further goals for the nearest two years in the case concerning Afghanistan. Thus, the NATO member-states arranged to train, advise and assist the ANSF in order to bear the full security responsibility. In this new Declaration NATO also underscores the necessity of full participation of women in social life and also the need of protection of children from armed conflicts menaces.