NATO summit wraps up with Afghanistan exit plan, plus more to watch for Monday in politics

The NATO summit wraps up Monday in Chicago with formal endorsement of a U.S.-backed strategy for the gradual exit of alliance troops from Afghanistan. The plan calls for handing over the lead role in combat operations to Afghan forces by mid-2013 and then withdrawal of most alliance troops by the end of 2014.

General John Allen, the commander of  NATO forces in Afghanistan, warned on Sunday that the bloodshed will not subside anytime soon. "Combat operations will continue in the country throughout the period of the remainder of the ISAF mission, which will conclude on the 31 st of December, 2014," Allen said at a briefing on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

After a wrap-up press conference at the summit, President Barack Obama will head to Joplin (Mo.) High School to give an evening commencement address. Joplin was hit by a tornado in May 2011 that killed 161 and injured more than 1,000.

Mitt Romney will be in New York and Connecticut raising campaign cash, and Ann Romney will be in Utah doing the same thing.

John Edwards will be in Greensboro, N.C., waiting for the jury to render a verdict in his campaign finance trial. It's the second day of deliberations, and a decision could come any time.

And then there is this: Get out the birthday candles. Al Franken, comedian, political commentator and, yes, now a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, turns 61 today.

Sources: Yahoo! News, Reuters, Associated Press

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