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NATO to discuss Afghan war, reveal new commanders

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 4:31 am •  Published: October 10, 2012

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen began the meeting saying that the coalition of 50 nations contributing to the Afghanistan fight will begin to withdraw their forces between now and the end of 2014, as planned. And he seemed to reject any idea that there will be any acceleration in the drawdown, despite concerns about the insider attacks.

"This is not about speeding up," said Rasmussen, adding that the coalition will execute a careful, deliberate and coordinated process for the transfer of security to the Afghans by the time the NATO combat mission ends in 2014.

At that time, NATO will change to a training and advisory mission. NATO ministers are expected to endorse a broad framework for that transition during their meeting here.

That mission is also likely to include continued counterterrorism efforts by the U.S. There have been suggestions that a force of as many as 20,000 troops could remain in Afghanistan after the end of 2014, but no decisions have been made. Allen is expected to provide some recommendations before the end of the year on the pace and number of U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan beginning in 2013.

Dunford has been assistant commandant since October 2010. Allen took over the Afghanistan job in July 2011, after serving as the acting commander of U.S. Central Command for a short time.