The mixed messages coming from the Obama Administration last week on the future of combat operations in Afghanistan have left our allies confused, the Afghan people anxious, and the insurgency stronger.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told his press entourage on his way to the NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels that:

Hopefully, by mid- to the latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advice and assist role, which is basically fulfilling what Lisbon was all about.

But the agreement at the 2010 NATO Lisbon Summit called for the end of combat operations and the completion of the transition process to the Afghans by 2015—not 2013.

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