KABUL: The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance is firmly committed to its Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. The NATO decided to stay in Afghanistan with 13,000 troops to train, assist and advise Afghan security force to defeat terrorism and stabilize the war-torn country.
Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance secretary-general, reiterated the commitment during a question-answer session at a pre-ministerial meeting press conference in Brussels.
“NATO has played a key role in the fight against terrorism for many years. We have to remember that our biggest military operation ever, the operation in Afghanistan, the purpose of that operation is to fight terrorism,” he said.
He added that the foreign troops in Afghanistan were aimed at preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorist groups again.
“There are many different international terrorist groups today in Afghanistan and that is the reason why we have decided to continue to stay in Afghanistan with 13,000 troops…”
“Best weapon they had in the fight against terrorism was to train and enable local forces to combat the scourge” he added.
Stoltenberg furthered, “Thanks to this support from NATO and NATO partners over a long period of years we have been able to build up a national army and security forces which is now responsible for security in Afghanistan themselves.
He added, “And I think if there’s any lesson learned from Afghanistan we should perhaps have started even earlier to train the Afghans enabling them to take over responsibility for the security of Afghanistan themselves. We have ended the combat mission, what we… what NATO is doing is to train, assist and advise and I for instance met with some pilots in the Afghan Air Force and it was great to see them being trained by NATO trainers enabling them to develop their own air force.”
Admitting that the alliance has some shortfalls in their Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg, said “General Nicholson has pointed at some of them and we will constantly address and follow the situation closely and I discuss this regularly with General Nicholson and this spring we will begin to discuss the future of Resolute Support Mission based on a review and assessment of the mission, the challenges and the need for NATO forces in Afghanistan.”
About the deployment of more forces, he said: “We are firmly committed to our Resolute Support Mission and heads of state and government made last year a decision to continue our military presence in Afghanistan…”
Stoltenberg, however, insisted on the training mission, hoping it would produce results as currently Afghan forces were in charge of security and it was due to the train and advice mission.
THE PASHTUN TIMES