The NATO Secretary-General says that the withdrawal of their troops does not mean the severance of ties with Afghanistan but that the organization is looking to maintain its civilian presence supporting the Afghan military in the country.
“With the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the people of this country must take full responsibility for their future, and without a doubt, they should build their homeland,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a news conference in Brussels on Monday. “With the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, they will face serious challenges, but there is no easy way forward.”
Mr. Stoltenberg added that the only way to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan was to advance the Afghan peace process responsibly and that this process must result in Afghan leadership. He added that NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan is now reduced to zero. Still, with the end of its military mission, NATO is increasing its support for Afghanistan in other ways. “First and foremost, we maintain a civilian presence in Afghanistan to advise and build capacity for Afghanistan’s security services,” he said. “We intend to provide training abroad for Afghan security forces.”
The NATO Secretary-General stressed that the security situation in Afghanistan remains complicated and challenging and that the decision to withdraw NATO forces will undoubtedly pose a threat to the country. “By being present in Afghanistan, NATO may pose more dangers to its allies because more war leads to more casualties,” he said. So before leaving Afghanistan, we decided to end our mission in the coming weeks; there was even a need to increase the number of soldiers. So we decided to complete our task in a few weeks, and I think we need to understand that our goal was never to stay in Afghanistan forever.”
Jens Stoltenberg also praised the capability of the Afghan security and defense forces, saying that they are now responsible for securing their country and that NATO will continue to support them in light of the challenges.
The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan officially began on May 1, and all US and NATO troops are scheduled to leave the country by September 11 this year. Earlier, the Afghan president had said that with the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, his government would not be isolated in international relations. Thus, a new chapter in relations with the United States and NATO was taking shape.