The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the alliance’s enduring support to Afghanistan, emphasizing that ‘Afghanistan’s security is our security’.
In his speech after the conclusion of the meeting with the NATO-led Resolute Support operational partner nations, Stoltenberg said
“Today, Afghan security forces are fully responsible for security across the country. Every day they demonstrate bravery and resilience, leading the fight to defeat terrorists and protect their people,” he said in his speech after the conclusion of the meeting with the Resolute Support operational partner nations and while noting the alliance’s support to the country.
The Secretary General further added that “This has allowed us to shift from a large-scale combat force of over 100,000 NATO troops to our current training mission of around 13,000.”
However, he said the security situation on the ground remains extremely challenging. “We have recently seen brutal attacks in Kabul. In recent months, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed. This is exactly why our presence is so important. So today, we reconfirmed our enduring commitment to Afghanistan. We will sustain our Resolute Support Mission beyond 2017.”
“In support of Afghanistan’s four-year roadmap for addressing key military shortfalls. Our military authorities have requested a few thousand more troops for the Mission and today, I can confirm that we will increase our presence in Afghanistan,” he added.
The Secretary General also added that “At a force generation conference earlier this month, fifteen nations pledged additional contributions to Resolute Support. We also got some more announcements and pledges during the meeting today.”
Stoltenberg said the alliance will also continue funding the Afghan Security Forces through 2020 and will continue to strengthen the alliance’s political partnership and practical cooperation with Afghanistan.
However, he said NATO alone cannot bring lasting security to Afghanistan, emphasizing that “We count on our Afghan partners to make good on their commitments, including: key reforms on good governance and the rule of law, fighting corruption and protecting the rights of women and girls. Together we are determined to build on the progress we have made and together we will preserve the gains we have fought so hard to achieve. Because Afghanistan’s security is our security.” -KP