The surprise announcement that the U.S. and the Taliban could soon begin peace talks in Qatar may have increased the chances of a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan. But some Afghans wonder whether such talks are about stabilizing Afghanistan — or just helping U.S. troops leave.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says the U.S. hopes to end its combat mission in Afghanistan in late 2013. However, U.S. troops would still remain in the country through the end of 2014. Panetta is meeting this week with NATO defense ministers, and the Afghanistan mission is a key item on the agenda.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says U.S. troops hope to begin transitioning from a combat role in Afghanistan to a role that focuses on training Afghan troops instead. The transition could happen sooner than expected — possibly by mid- to late-2013. U.S. troops would still remain in Afghanistan through at least the end of 2014, however. Audie Cornish talks to NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, who has the latest.
Media reports say Afghans are braced for a return of the Taliban once NATO forces leave the country. A classified NATO report was leaked to the BBC and The Times of London which further documents what has been said for a long time: Pakistan is actively supporting the Taliban insurgency.
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