BRUSSELS (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Monday hoped the new phase of NATO.
Addressing a joint news conference here with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the president said Afghanistan was in the frontline of a struggle for stability.
“But NATO’s commitment to that struggle has meant that Europe and North America have been safe… Mr. Secretary General, we are very pleased to be here,” he added.
Ghani said his administration represented the absolute majority of the people, who had elected their representatives, expressing their consent and consensus on the Afghan-NATO partnership that would be implemented.
For his part, Stoltenberg welcomed Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah to the NATO headquarters, shortly after his visit to Kabul some weeks ago.
“I think their presence at NATO Headquarters is a great expression of the strong partnership between NATO and Afghanistan. And for over a decade, NATO allies and partners have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan people.”
The alliance and its partners had helped to turn Afghanistan from a safe haven for international terrorists into a responsible country. He praised the leadership of the president and the CEO in forming the national unity government.
He went on to hail the ratification of Afghanistan’s security pacts with NATO and the United States. With the deals in place, the alliance would move forward with its new mission, the Resolute Support, to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces from January 1, 2015.
Ghani paid tribute to more than 3,400 NATO personnel who rendered the ultimate sacrifice of losing their lives, more than 30,000 who were injured and hundreds of thousands had been veterans of combat. “What brings us together is a compelling case of mutual interest.”
Speaking on the occasion, Abdullah said the formation of a national unity government, ratification of SOFA and BSA represented a new phase. With the signing of SOFA, he added, a legal framework was there for the alliance to embark on its new mission.
“I would like to thank NATO countries which have contributed to the stabilisation of Afghanistan and helping our institutions. And as a result of our international support, Afghanistan is a different place… But we continued support.”