NATO's Secretary-General says he is hopeful the alliance can begin handing over control of some Afghan provinces to local authorities within five months. Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the war in Afghanistan "will remain (NATO's) most important operation for quite some time."
However, he expressed hope on Friday that a NATO summit in November would be able to announce the first handovers of provincial power. Violence is escalating in Afghanistan, and concern is deepening in Washington and other allied capitals over the direction of the war.
Fogh Rasmussen was meeting with officials in Lisbon, Portugal, where the NATO summit will be held November 19-20.