KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that no final decision has been taken about troop’s withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1.
Addressing a press conference ahead of NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels, he said: “So all options are on the table and no final decision has been taken, but I think it’s extremely important that allies consult closely as we will do our Foreign Ministerial meeting tomorrow, also of course with Secretary Blinken of the United States. We also had good discussions and consultations at the Defence Minister meeting last month here at NATO.”
He added the main focus now is to provide the support for the renewed efforts to make progress in the peace talks.
Peace talks are the only ways to find a sustainable, political, lasting solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, and therefore we call on all parties to negotiate in good faith, and on the Taliban also to stop providing support to Al Qaeda or international terrorist groups, and then we need to see a reduction in the level of violence.
“We will assess, we will we will consult, and then we will make decisions together as NATO allies, also knowing that the majority of the troops in Afghanistan now, they are from Europe and from partner nations, so the majority of the troops are non-US.”
“I think what you’re seeing also is that the Afghan National Security Forces, they are capable, they are professional, and they are now actually responsible for the security in Afghanistan themselves. What we do is that we provide support, training, advice, assistance and also financial funding for the Afghan security forces.”
Secretary general said that NATO’s presence in Afghanistan has changed significantly over the last years, not many years ago,
“we had more than 100,000 NATO troops in a big combat operation. Now we are around 10,000 troops in the train, assist and advice operation, that demonstrates the strength of the Afghan security forces and their capabilities that they have developed over the last years, with support from NATO.”
“We will stay committed, not least by continuing to provide financial support, we have stated that we will provide the financial support throughout 2024. When it comes to our military presence, we will make decisions together based on the situation in Afghanistan and of course the progress in the peace talks, and that’s the main focus now to make sure that there has been progress in the peace talks.”
He said that NATO foreign ministers will continue consultations on the situation in Afghanistan.
“Our military presence, to assess our next steps together. There are no easy choices. And for now, all options remain open. The security situation is difficult. And we will take all the necessary measures to keep our troops safe.”