Cost of leaving Afghanistan would be ‘much higher’ than staying: Stoltenberg

NATO-ChiefKABUL: The NATO Secretary General Jeans Stoltenberg has announced no withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying, the cost of staying in Afghanistan was higher, but the cost of withdrawal could be much higher.

Stoltenberg, after holding talks with Romanian prime minister, said this it in his speech at the plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest.

He applauded Romania’s contributions in many areas including US-led NATO war on terror in Afghanistan, and Kosovo. “Our Alliance has to face many different threats and challenges at the same time.”  Stoltenberg added.

He expressed his concerns about instability from Afghanistan which remains a front line state in the ongoing international campaign against terrorism and paying highest price. Similarly, he spoke on the ongoing conflict and instability in the Middle East and North Africa which has inspired terrorist attacks in our own countries.

“NATO, in the fight against global terrorism has played a key role for many years,” Stoltenberg said.

“Our largest ever military operation is in Afghanistan, where today we have around 13,000 troops from 39 different NATO and partner countries training Afghan security forces and enhancing their professional capabilities, helping them to fight terrorism to bring peace and stability in their own country.”

“I have just returned from a trip to Afghanistan together with US Secretary of Defense Mattis,” he said, adding, there is a renewed commitment to our efforts in Afghanistan. “I have seen how well NATO troops are working with Afghan security forces.”

He further went on saying the ongoing training and strengthening program for the Afghan defense and security forces would enhance their war capabilities in battlefield against terrorists, adding, the training is based on minimizing their casualties as well.

NATO secretary general announced no withdrawal from Afghanistan and termed it dangerous and disastrous decision. He acknowledged the challenging situations in Afghanistan and cost of staying here, adding, despite human and financial loses, the cost of withdrawal is much higher.

“If NATO leaves too soon, we risk Afghanistan returning to a state of chaos and safe haven for international terrorism.”

The last time that happened then it led to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In which almost 3000 people were lost lives.

“We cannot allow that to happen again. That is why we remain committed to Afghanistan. We are also stepping up elsewhere.”

The NATO alliance is also a full member of the Global Coalition to fight ISIS.

“Our AWACS surveillance planes are helping the Coalition to better understand the situation in the air.”

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