The newly elected French President is still very clear about following through on his campaign promise to get all French troops out of occupied Afghanistan by the end of the year. Officials are downplaying the significance of the pullout, however, and are pressing for the rest of NATO to reiterate their commitment to the war.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed “optimism” in this regard, saying he believes that the member nations will come through with major funding for the Afghan military and insisting that the alliance is united on seeing the conflict through despite its enormous unpopularity.
President Obama, meanwhile, struggled to stay on message, insisting in comments meant for the public that the war “as we understood it is over” but centering on the long, difficult road ahead in comments to other officials, while pressing NATO for unity on the conflict going forward.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai also used the summit to reiterate how important it is for his government to receive massive financial and military support for the foreseeable future, while insisting that at some point Afghanistan would become self-reliant. Naturally, Karzai gave no indication how this would ever happen.