The United States plans in the near future to begin talks on the extension of its military contingent’s presence after 2014, US State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman said.
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) plans to hand over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to the Afghan leadership by the end of 2014, as decided at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon.
Grossman said that several meetings on “how we will manage our forces going forward in Afghanistan,” were already held at an informal level, but no official talks on the issue of extending the mission took place.
He dismissed “as speculative” earlier statements by some US military officials that some 25,000 American troops would remain in Afghanistan after 2014, saying there was no exact number as of yet.
Grossman also said that the aim US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 would be engaged in training and advising Afghan military personnel.
Over 50 foreign soldiers and officers have been killed by Afghan police officers and servicemen in so-called green-on-blue attacks since the start of the year and the international coalition in Afghanistan has lost more than 330 troops killed so far in 2012, according to ISAF information.