NATO foreign ministers agree to sustain mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016

NATO-FMsThe foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Friday agreed to sustain the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016.

“Foreign Ministers from the nations participating in Resolute Support agreed today (20 May 2016) to sustain the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016 in a sign of strong commitment to the stability of the country,” a statement by the alliance said.

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “The Afghan forces are showing real courage, determination, and professionalism; and they are benefitting from our training, advice and assistance; but Afghanistan continues to face serious security challenges. That is why today, ministers agreed to sustain the Resolute Support mission beyond 2016. Our military authorities will now address the details of the mission beyond 2016, including in the regions of Afghanistan.”

The statement by NATO further added that ministers also reviewed financial support for the Afghan security forces, with total contributions to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund now exceeding 1.4 billion US dollars.

Stoltenberg said “I am confident that we will be able to announce at the Warsaw Summit firm commitments to continue funding the Afghan forces through the year 2020. This is critical for Afghanistan’s ability to build sustainable security forces and ensure Afghanistan’s lasting security. Ministers also reaffirmed our long-term ambition for a strong political partnership and practical cooperation with Afghanistan.”

Expressing his appreciation for NATO Allies and Partners’ continued support to Afghanistan, the Afghan Foreign Affairs Minister Salahuddin Rabbani in his turn briefed the Ministers on the Afghan National Unity Government’s continuing reforms to fight corruption, protect human rights and advance the peace process.

Today’s meeting was an important stepping stone towards the NATO Summit in Warsaw, as Ministers made clear that the Allies and Partners’ political, military and financial support for Afghanistan will endure, the statement added.

The United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, the Secretary General of the European Union External Action Service and high level officials from Japan and South Korea also attended the meeting of Foreign Ministers from the Resolute Support mission. -KP

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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