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NATO to continue diplomatic presence in Kabul: Stoltenberg

2 Jun 2021 - 12:10
2 Jun 2021 - 12:10

KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan continues in a coordinated manner, the Western military alliance chief says.

Jens Stoltenberg told a media briefing in Brussels on Tuesday: “The drawdown of our forces is progressing in an orderly and coordinated way.”

The Associated Press quoted him as saying after virtual meetings of NATO foreign and defence ministers that the safety of forces remained a priority for the organisation.

The secretary-general said NATO would continue its civilian diplomatic presence in Kabul to provide advice and capacity-building support to Afghan security institutions.

The alliance was studying ways of educating Afghan troops and training special forces soldiers abroad, Stoltenberg said in response to a query.

“And we are working on how to fund the provision of services enabling allies and the international community to stay in Kabul, including support for the airport,” he added.

With regard to the closure of the Australian embassy in Kabul, he said: “NATO is ending its military mission, but we will continue to provide support and we will do that in different ways.”

The situation in Afghanistan was challenging, fragile and difficult, he acknowledged, saying the way forward was easy despite the presence of risks.

An Afghan-owned an Afghan-led peace process was essential to ensure stability in the country, he believed, saying the Afghans were in charge of their future.

NATO has gradually reduced over the past decade its presence in Afghanistan from more than 100,000 troops to around 10,000 at the beginning of this year.

PAN Monitor/mud

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