(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai claimed on Thursday that his police and military forces are prepared to take over security chores from the international coalition whenever it decides to withdraw from Afghanistan.
The U.S. and NATO have scheduled a near total drawdown by sometime in 2014 and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reiterated that firm date during his press conference in Kabul with Karzai.
Rasmussen said that he believes national forces will be ready to assume security responsibilities by the time the coalition packs up and leaves two years from now.
However, Karzai’s suggestion was that Afghanistan is ready, even now, if the U.S. and NATO want to get an early jump.
The announcement came just a day after a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle by striking a joint U.S.-Afghan base in the Zurmat district of Paktia province, wounding 45 Afghan soldiers.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN