BRUSSELS - The conflict in Afghanistan has to be ended by the Afghans themselves, as this goal cannot be achieved by a third party, the top American military commander in the war-torn country said on Thursday.
Gen. Joseph Dunford told a group of Afghan journalists in Brussels that the people of Afghanistan themselves had to take the initiative to put a stop to the war, as foreign combat troops prepare to leave by the end of 2014.
Asked about NATO's failure to target terrorist safe havens across the border in Pakistan, he replied the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was confined to Afghanistan.
The neighbors should focus on forging constructive military and political cooperation to address their common problems, the ISAF commander suggested.
Gen. Dunford believed a lot of achievements had been made over the past 11 years, with the Afghan nation and government staying firmly on the road to progress.
He particularly noted the improvement made by the Afghan security forces, saying they were capable of dealing with any kind of challenges. He added the situation would not take any turn for the worse after the pullout of foreign combat troops.
The American general viewed next year's presidential ballot as vital to the country's future, promising ISAF would help the Afghans in securing the election. He stressed an inclusive and transparent vote was important for Afghanistan's stability. (Pajhwok)