The U.S. President Barack Obama hosted the largest ever NATO summit in his home town, Chicago, a day after major industrialized nations tackled a European debt crisis that threatens the global economy. The world leaders gathered for a two-day summit to define their path out of Afghanistan.
Speaking at the NATO summit the new French Prime Minister Henry Hollande said that France will stick to it's plan for an early pull out from Afghanistan. Speaking in French he said,
"French combat troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year. In 2013, only trainers for police and officers of the Afghan army will remain and this will be done within the framework of ISAF. On this basis, we have managed to find a common agreement. He added that NATO allies had understood and accepted France's position and I will have to outline details over the next few weeks."
While British PM David Cameron met with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai as NATO discusses Afghanistan. This follows Britain's announcement for a $100 million annual contribution to secure long-term funding for the Afghan police and army which is essential for the alliance's aim of a smooth exit.
NATO will hand over the lead role in combat operations to Afghan forces across the country by mid-2013, as they chart a path out of a war that has lost public support and strained budgets in Western nations.