KABUL - Italy has promised to stay committed to peace, stability and development in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when Afghan forces will take full security responsibility across the country.
Francesco Maria Talo, Italy's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, held out the pledge during a meeting with President Hamid Karzai on Saturday morning.
The president's office said Italian-funded development programs in western Herat province had made a significant impact on economic development and creating employment opportunities.
President Karzai, lauding the Italian assistance over the past 10 years, said the friendship between the two countries was 90 years old. He added today's Afghanistan was a lot more developed than it was a decade ago.
Considerable progress has been made in the fields of education, health, road construction, commerce and legislation, Karzai was quoted as saying.
Almost 3,815 Italian soldiers are currently stationed in Afghanistan in the framework of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.