NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday reiterated that the promise to leave Afghanistan and the alliance’s presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based.
“You’re right that in the deal that was signed last year, I was actually in Kabul when the deal was signed in Doha, and in that deal, there is a May 1st deadline. But the promise to leave Afghanistan is conditions-based. Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based,” Stoltenberg said.
He said that the Taliban has to meet their commitments.
“What NATO does now is that we, first of all, do whatever we can to support the peace process and the full implementation of the deal. We will only leave when the time is right. And the focus now is how can we support the peace efforts, the peace talks, and reenergise, relaunch a new strength, a new momentum in the peace talks, because that’s the only path to peace,” the NATO chief said.
He also mentioned that the NATO Allies welcome that message from the United States, not least because there is a significant non-US presence in Afghanistan.
“There are roughly 10,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan now, and the majority of them are not from the United States. And I think that demonstrates the value of NATO also for the United States, because the United States, when they went into Afghanistan, they didn’t go alone. They have been supported by NATO Allies with tens of thousands of troops for now close to two decades. So, of course, the United States is the biggest force contributor to our mission in Afghanistan, but not the only one. Many Allies, many partners,” he further said.
NATO secretary general said that they the peace process together.
“We are calling on Taliban to reduce violence, to negotiate in good faith and to stop supporting international terrorists like al Qaeda. And then we will make the necessary decisions together. But I think the main focus now should be on reenergising the peace talks, because that’s the only way to a peaceful solution,” he added.
NATO defense ministers in their two-day virtual meeting will address NATO’s missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, review progress toward fairer burden-sharing, and discuss the NATO 2030 initiative.
Courtesy: TOLO NEWS