As Gen. David Petraeus prepares to try and save a troubled war effort in Afghanistan, the world's eight top industrial democracies on Saturday set a timeline of five years for security forces there to "assume increasing responsibility."
The countries -- the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia -- said in a joint statement that a conference in Kabul in July would be an important setting for assessing progress in implementing commitments made in January to train more than 100,000 additional Afghan security forces by the end of next year.
The G-8 leaders said it was important to accelerate efforts to make sure the country's own security forces can "assume increasing responsibility within five years."
The statement comes just days after President Obama dismissed Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of both U.S. and NATO forces for the scornful remarks he and his aides made about top Obama administration officials in a Rolling Stone magazine article.
Obama tapped Petraeus, architect of the turnaround in the Iraq war, who is expected to easily win Senate confirmation next week.
Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said Saturday that the war effort must show progress this year.
The two leaders, concluding their first meeting since the conservative British leader took power last month with a coalition government, said their nations have the right strategy in Afghanistan.
"This period that we are in is going to be critical," Obama said.
Added Cameron: "We're giving it everything we can to get it right this year."
With a resurgent Taliban and major U.S.-led offensives planned, the nine-year-old war is considered at a tipping point.
Obama began his day by concluding a summit of the leading eight industrial democracies at a resort in Canada's forested Muskoka lakes region, then flew to Toronto for a second, expanded summit of the so-called Group of 20 nations. Those larger meetings, mostly being held on Sunday, were getting underway with a dinner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.