BRUSSELS — NATO's top officer said the Afghan army will not collapse when international troops end their combat role, in the way that South Vietnam's did in the 1970s.
Italian Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola said the international community intends to remain committed to Afghanistan after NATO forces hand over responsibility to the Afghan security forces in 2014.
Di Paola said on Thursday that about 60 countries will remain engaged in the broader effort to stabilize Afghanistan, and that this is not comparable to the "bilateral effort" seen during the Vietnam War.
US and allied troops pulled out of South Vietnam in 1973. Two years later, the South's army — which the Americans and French had trained for 30 years — collapsed within a matter of weeks during a communist offensive.