KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (RSM) commander in Afghanistan Gen. Austin Scott Miller on Sunday said they would defend Afghan forces against major attacks until full withdrawal.
Miller made the statement during a conference in Kabul today. He said that the official withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan was scheduled to start on May 1, but unofficial withdrawal activities were currently also ongoing.
Around 2,500 US forces and around 7,000 NATO troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan.
However, RSM commander said that they had packed all their equipment and would soon start withdrawal and complete the process until September 11.
“We will turn over the bases primarily to the Ministry of Defense and other Afghan forces,” Miller said. “The notification day will be the first of May but at the same time as we start taking local actions, we have already begun that,” he added.
He warned to respond to any attacks from Taliban or other insurgent groups on NATO forces during the withdrawal process.
Miller said that they would also defend Afghan forces against any major attacks until the international forces withdrew from Afghanistan.
About the fate of bilateral security agreement between the US and Afghanistan, he said that the governments of the two countries would decide on the regard.
On possible escalation of violence by Taliban after NATO forces withdrawal, he said, “It would be a serious mistake and a dangerous act.”
He said that the Taliban and the Afghan government should move forward the ongoing peace process and pave way for a political settlement to the crisis of Afghanistan.
The Taliban still have ties with Al Qaeda which the group should have cut off based on the Doha agreement, he said.