Issued by the Government of Afghanistan and the Heads of State and Government of the Nations contributing to the NATO-led ISAF, Chicago, USA, 21 May 2012
- We, the nations contributing to ISAF, and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, met today in Chicago to renew our firm commitment to a sovereign, secure and democratic Afghanistan. In line with the strategy which we agreed at the Lisbon Summit, ISAF’s mission will be concluded by the end of 2014. But thereafter Afghanistan will not stand alone: we reaffirm that our close partnership will continue beyond the end of the transition period.
- In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade. The nations contributing to ISAF will therefore continue to support Afghanistan on its path towards self-reliance in security, improved governance, and economic and social development. This will prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorists that threaten Afghanistan, the region, and the world. A secure and stable Afghanistan will make an important contribution to its region, in which security, stability and development are interlinked.
- ISAF nations and Afghanistan join in honouring all those – civilian or military, Afghan or foreign – who have lost their lives or been injured in the fight for our common security and a prosperous, peaceful and stable Afghanistan. We pay particular tribute to the courage of the armed forces of Afghanistan and ISAF countries who live, train and fight next to each other every day. We are determined that all our sacrifices will be justified by our strong long-term partnership, which will contribute to a better future for the people of Afghanistan.
- Our efforts are part of the broader engagement of the International Community as outlined by the Kabul Conference in July 2010, the Istanbul Process on regional security and cooperation which was launched in November 2011 and the Bonn Conference in December 2011.
- We recall the firm mutual commitments made at the Bonn Conference on 5 December 2011, which form the basis of our long-term partnership. In this context, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan confirms its resolve to deliver on its commitment to a democratic society, based on the rule of law and good governance, including progress in the fight against corruption, where the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens, including the equality of men and women and the active participation of both in Afghan society, are respected. The forthcoming elections must be conducted with full respect for Afghan sovereignty and in accordance with the Afghan Constitution. Their transparency, inclusivity and credibility will also be of paramount importance. In this context, continued progress towards these goals will encourage ISAF nations to further provide their support up to and beyond 2014.
- We emphasise the importance of full participation of all Afghan women in the reconstruction, political, peace and reconciliation processes in Afghanistan and the need to respect the institutional arrangements protecting their rights. We remain committed to the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security. We recognise also the need for the protection of children from the damaging effects of armed conflict as required in relevant UNSCRs.
Fulfilling the Lisbon Roadmap and building the Enduring Partnership
- In Lisbon, in November 2010, we decided on the phased transition of security responsibility from ISAF to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), in order to enable Afghans to take full responsibility for their own security. NATO/ISAF and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan remain committed to this transition strategy which began in July 2011. Irreversible transition is on track and will be completed by the end of 2014. We also recognise in this context the importance of a comprehensive approach and continued improvements in governance and development.
- The third wave of provinces to enter the transition process was announced by President Karzai on 13 May 2012. This means that 75% of Afghanistan’s population will soon be living in areas where the ANSF have taken the lead for security. By mid-2013, all parts of Afghanistan will have begun transition and the Afghan forces will be in the lead for security nation-wide. This will mark an important milestone in the Lisbon roadmap. ISAF is gradually and responsibly drawing down its forces to complete its mission by 31 December 2014.
- The success of transition has been enabled by the substantial improvement of the ANSF since Lisbon in terms of capability and professionalism. Afghan soldiers are increasingly taking the lead in operations on Afghan soil. Afghan forces, both army and police, have proven able to maintain security in those areas which have already entered into transition.
- The completion of transition, however, will not mean the end of the International Community’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development. Afghanistan and NATO reaffirm their commitment to further develop the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership signed at Lisbon in 2010 in all its dimensions, up to 2014 and beyond, including through joint programmes to build capacity such as the Building Integrity Initiative. In this context, NATO and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will now deepen their consultations towards shaping the Enduring Partnership.
- Meanwhile, we welcome the fact that a number of ISAF countries have concluded, or are in the process of concluding, bilateral partnership agreements with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. These bilateral partnership frameworks will form the basis of cooperation and friendship between an independent, sovereign and democratic Afghanistan and those countries on the basis of equality and mutual interest.
- In order to safeguard and build on the substantial progress and shared achievement, ISAF nations reaffirm their enduring commitment to Afghan security beyond 2014; the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan continues to welcome that support.
- ISAF, including the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, has played a key role in taking the ANSF to the levels they have now reached. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan reaffirms that NATO has a crucial part to play, with partners and alongside other actors, in training, advising and assisting the ANSF and invites NATO to continue its support. As transition of security responsibility is completed at the end of 2014, NATO will have made the shift from a combat mission to a new training, advising and assistance mission, which will be of a different nature to the current ISAF mission.
- We agree to work towards establishing such a new NATO-led mission. We will ensure that the new mission has a sound legal basis, such as a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
Sustaining the ANSF
- With the support of ISAF nations, Afghanistan is committed to developing an ANSF which is governed by the Constitution and is capable of providing security to all Afghans. It will operate under effective civilian leadership, in accordance with the rule of law, and respecting human rights.
- At the International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn on 5 December 2011, the wider International Community decided to support the training, equipping, financing and capability development of the ANSF beyond the end of the transition period. NATO Allies and ISAF partners reaffirm their strong commitment to this process and will play their part in the financial sustainment of the ANSF. We also call on the International Community to commit to this long-term sustainment. The pace and the size of a gradual managed force reduction from the ANSF surge peak to a sustainable level will be conditions-based and decided by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in consultation with the International Community. The preliminary model for a future total ANSF size, defined by the International Community and the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, envisages a force of 228,500 with an estimated annual budget of US$4.1billion, and will be reviewed regularly against the developing security environment.
- Sustaining a sufficient and capable ANSF is the responsibility of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan supported by the International Community. As part of the wider International Community, and building upon existing mechanisms, we will play our part in developing appropriate, coherent and effective funding mechanisms and expenditure arrangements for all strands of the ANSF. Such mechanisms will be flexible, transparent, accountable, cost-effective and will include measures against corruption. They will also distinguish between funding for the army and the police as well as for further capacity development within the relevant Afghan ministries and security institutions.
- As the Afghan economy and the revenues of the Afghan government grow, Afghanistan’s yearly share will increase progressively from at least US$500m in 2015, with the aim that it can assume, no later than 2024, full financial responsibility for its own security forces. In the light of this, during the Transformation Decade, we expect international donors will reduce their financial contributions commensurate with the assumption by the Afghan government of increasing financial responsibility.
- As the Afghan National Police further develop and professionalise, they will evolve towards a sustainable, credible, and accountable civilian law enforcement force that will shoulder the main responsibility for domestic security. This force should be capable of providing policing services to the Afghan population as part of the broader Afghan rule of law system. This will require an adequate plan to be developed by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, supported as appropriate by the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB) or its successor. Both the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police will play a crucial role in ensuring security and stability, and in supporting legitimate governance and sustainable economic growth across the country.
Towards a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan
- A political process involving successful reconciliation and reintegration is key to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. In this context, we reiterate the importance of the principles decided at the Bonn Conference. These are that the process leading to reconciliation must be truly Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and must be inclusive and representative of the legitimate interests of all Afghan people, regardless of gender or status. Reconciliation must also contain the reaffirmation of a sovereign, stable and united Afghanistan, the renunciation of violence, the breaking of ties to international terrorism, and compliance with the Afghan Constitution, including its human rights provisions, especially on the rights of women.
- A peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan will positively contribute to economic and social development in the wider region, and deliver progress in the fight against narcotics trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism and crime. In this context, regional cooperation and support for stability in Afghanistan is key. There are two important events on the way to securing the future commitment of key regional and international partners. The upcoming Kabul Ministerial Conference on the Istanbul Process will launch an initial set of regional confidence-building measures while at the Tokyo Conference the International Community and Afghan leadership will discuss a framework for future development assistance.
- Our task is not yet complete. But in the light of our substantial achievements, and building on our firm and shared commitment, we are confident that our strong partnership will lead Afghanistan towards a better future.