Karzai wants 2014 security handover
Karzai and Clinton toured a market in Kabul after delivering their opening 
speeches [AFP]

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has told delegates at an international 
conference in Kabul that he wants Afghan forces to take over security across 
the country in four years.

"I remain determined that our Afghan national security forces will be 
responsible for all military and law enforcement operations throughout our 
country by 2014," Karzai said.

The conference, held in the Afghan capital, ran for nearly six hours on 
Tuesday. It was the ninth conference on Afghanistan since the US-led war began 
there in 2001. 

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general, said Nato would not withdraw 
from Afghanistan until Afghan security forces were able to provide their own 
security.

"Our mission will end when, only when, the Afghans are able to maintain 
security on their own," he said. "Our transition will be based on conditions, 
not calendars."

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Rasmussen said he would not outline a timeline 
for when Nato forces might start to withdraw, or which provinces they would 
exit first.

Delegates had been expected to press Karzai to accelerate and improve the 
training of the Afghan army and police, to facilitate the withdrawal of 
thousands of Nato troops serving in the country.

Projects and programmes

Karzai also asked international donors to give his government more control over 
billions of dollars in aid. More than three-quarters of Afghan aid money is 
spent by NGOs and other organisations, not by the Afghan government.

The Afghan government wants 50 per cent of aid to be channeled through 
ministries in the next two years.
Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen talks to Al Jazeera's James Bays

"Delivering our resources through hundreds of isolated projects will not 
achieve the desired results," Karzai said. "It is time to concentrate our 
efforts on a limited number of projects and programmes."

Also high on the agenda at the conference was Karzai's plan to offer jobs and 
cash to Taliban members in exchange for them laying down their weapons.

That plan was endorsed at the last major conference on Afghanistan, held in 
London in January.

Clinton said the United States has seen "positive steps" from Karzai's outreach 
to insurgents.

Omar Zakhilwal, the Afghan finance minister, presented a list of "national 
priority programmes," which will be the focus for international aid efforts. He 
pledged to create 300,000 new jobs over three years through agricultural 
programmes; to expand women's access to education; and to create infrastructure 
to tap into Afghanistan's billions of dollars in mineral wealth.

"We are expecting your full support and alignment," Zakhilwal said.

'Concrete steps'

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, has called for the Afghan 
president to unveil "concrete" steps to improve governance and promote national 
reconciliation.
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"We expect President Karzai and his government would come up with a concrete 
action plan... about the way to enhance good governance, promote further 
reconciliation and also how he can improve the security situation in his 
country," Ban told the AFP news agency.

Karzai said the Afghan government currently has enough aid funding for the next 
three years. And Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, promised a lengthy 
international commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan.

"We have no intention of abandoning our long-term vision," Clinton said. "Too 
many nations... have suffered too many losses to let this country slide 
backwards."

Clinton arrived in the Afghan capital late on Monday, following a visit to 
neighbouring Pakistan. On that leg of the trip, Clinton announced the first 
part of a $7.5bn aid package for the country, including funds for energy and 
water projects.

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