At a press conference here, Stoltenberg said: “We will end the day with a meeting of all nations contributing to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. We will discuss the future of NATO’s presence in that country.”
Ahead of defence ministers’ meeting, the secretary general said NATO’s military authorities had requested a few thousand more troops for the mission in Afghanistan.
“I can confirm we will increase our presence in Afghanistan. Fifteen nations have already pledged additional contributions to Resolute Support Mission. And I look forward to further announcements from other nations,” he added.
Stoltenberg said the defence ministers would address a wide range of issues, ranging from the mission in Afghanistan to full-spectrum deterrence, from fighting terrorism to cyber defence.
Last month, he recalled, NATO’s heads of state and government agreed to augment their role in the fight against terrorism and to improve burden-sharing across the alliance.
In response to a question from Pajhwok, the secretary-general said NATO had ended its combat operation in Afghanistan. The NATO soldiers were helping the Afghans fight and take full responsibility for the security in their country.
“We see a need for some more effort and some more support from NATO to the Afghans, especially in three areas; strengthening their special operations forces.
“We have seen the Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan have been very professional and important in the fight against the Taliban and we are now working on how we can further strengthen them.” he added.
In the second area, NATO wants to help develop the Afghan Air Force, which is important both in the fight against terrorist groups and Taliban. The alliance also plans sending Medivac in support of the armed forces on the ground.
“In the third area, we are stepping up our efforts is when it comes to leadership and education of officers. We are also going to do more when it comes to the different military academies.
“Again, this is not about turning back into a combat mission, but this is about adjusting, strengthening the train, assist and advice mission we have in Afghanistan, supporting and helping the Afghans.”