It’s been a long while since Afghans have had anything resembling autonomy when it comes to protecting their own interests, not to mention their own people. Well, it’s going to be a while longer, too, but on Tuesday some progress was made in paving the way for local officials and forces to assume responsibility for their security, and for foreign troops to finally ship out. –KA

Los Angeles Times:

“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 told the delegates, who included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and dozens of foreign ministers and other dignitaries.

All the major troop-contributing nations in the Afghan conflict were represented at the meeting. The endorsement of Karzai’s timeline was not binding, but it addressed a growing desire on the part of NATO allies to have some kind of pullback plan in place.

The Afghan leader had put forth the goal of a security handover by 2014 last November, as he was inaugurated for a second presidential term. Since then, though, the sense of urgency surrounding an exit strategy for the West has increased dramatically.

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