Stoltenberg: NATO will continue to support Afghan forces
As the Trump administration is willing to reduce its forces in Afghanistan earlier this Christmas, NATO Secretary-General says that while the United States has announced that it will reduce Afghanistan’s presence, the NATO mission will continue its activities. According to MR. Stoltenberg: “we will continue to provide support to Afghan security forces. No Ally wants to stay in Afghanistan for longer than is necessary. But we cannot risk Afghanistan becoming once more a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands. And we cannot let ISIS rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq.”
Meanwhile, NATO SG says that we have to remember that we went into Afghanistan to prevent this country from being a haven for international terrorists, and we have achieved that. He highlights: “now the question is, can we leave and still prevent that from happening. That will not be an easy decision. But my only message is that whatever we do, we need to do it coordinated and in an orderly way. And also take into account that not so many years ago, we had more than a hundred thousand NATO troops in the combat operation there. Now we are less than 11,000 troops in the training and advice mission.”
Mr. Stoltenberg believes that one of the lessons that NATO allies learned from Afghanistan is that the sooner we can start to build local capacity to train local forces to build local security institutions, the better. He said: “if there’s any lesson learned, or is one lesson learned from Afghanistan is that we should perhaps have started earlier to train the Afghans, to enable the Afghans to stabilize their own country. Training local forces is all the best weapons we have in the fight against terrorism.”
NATO SG emphasizes its conditional presence in Afghanistan as the Taliban has intensified its attacks in Afghanistan; this comes when the US is now planning to reduce its military personnel by mid-January.