NATO leaders seal landmark agreement to hand control of Afghanistan over to its own security forces by the middle of next year.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meets with US President…

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meets with US President Barack Obama. NATO.

NATO leaders sealed a landmark agreement on Monday to hand control of Afghanistan over to its own security forces by the middle of next year, putting the Western alliance on an “irreversible” path out of an unpopular, decade-long war.

A NATO summit in Chicago formally committed to a U.S.-backed strategy that calls for a gradual exit of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014 but left major questions unanswered about how to prevent a slide into chaos and a Taliban resurgence after the allies are gone.

The summit’s final communiqué ratified plans for the NATO-led army to hand over command of all combat missions to Afghan forces by the middle of 2013 and for the withdrawal of most of the 130,000 foreign troops by the end of 2014.

Source: Alister Bull and Adrian Croft for Reuters.

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