BRUSSELS - Defense Ministers from NATO countries are all set to begin their two-day meeting here on Tuesday, with the mission in Afghanistan and cyber defense on the agenda, officials said.
On Wednesday, the participants will focus on progress of the Afghan mission, specifically the ongoing security switch and planning for the new mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces after 2014.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News ahead of the meeting, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said that the ministers will make a significant step forward on Wednesday in planning the new mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014.
The new mission Resolute Support reflected the continued commitment of NATO and the global fraternity to Afghanistan, she said, promising the war-torn country would not be left alone after 2014, when foreign combat troops are to leave.
The defense ministers would meet with their counterparts from the 22 non-NATO countries contributing troops to the ISAF mission.
Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi, European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and UN Secretary General’s Special representative Jan Kubis are expected to attend the talks.
"The ministerial will start with a working session on Allied capabilities and assess progress in filling key capability gaps. A separate session is planned entirely devoted to cyber defense, during which the ministers are expected to take stock of existing measures to protect NATO networks," the spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, a diplomatic source told Pajhwok Afghan News the size of US and NATO troops who would stay in Afghanistan post 2014 would also figure at the meeting. However, he ruled out an immediate decision on the lingering issue. (Pajhwok)