May 20 - NATO leaders meet in Chicago to to discuss plans for reducing international forces in Afghanistan. Deborah Gembara reports.
Paying tribute to NATO forces killed in Afghanistan as world leaders meet in Chicago to define the path out of the country. President Barack Obama, seen here with NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, is hosting the two-day Summit which if things go as planned, could pave the way for foreign troops to move to a support role as Afghan forces take over. What this means is that most of the 130,00 NATO troops in the country could be gone by 2014. Doing so without triggering fears of a rush for the exits will be tricky. Obama met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai earlier in the day. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "There will be hard days ahead, but we're confident that we are on the right track." The president praised the strength of the Afghan people. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "So long as they are reflecting that resilience for a better future, they will have a friend in the United States of America." Still the message was clear. SOUNDBITE: Afghan President Hamid Karzai saying: "Afghanistan reaffirmed its commitment to the transition process and to the completion of it in 2013 and the completion of the withdrawal of our partners in 2014 so that Afghanistan is no longer a burden on the shoulder of our friends in the international community." French President Francois Hollande has stated he will stick with his campaign pledge to withdraw troops by the end of the year --- a move that Washington fears could prompt others to follow suit Security outside McCormick Place, the site of the summit was high especially in wake of arrests earlier in the week. Police say three men were plotting to attack sites in the city. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.