Stoltenberg: We Will Continue to Provide Support to Afghanistan with Our Civilian Presence

Tuesday June 01, 2021
Kabul (BNA) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs and NATO Ministers of Defense while answering journalists’ questions said, we will continue to provide support to Afghanistan with our civilian presence.
NATO Secretary General, in n response to a question from Liluma Sadid reporter of Brussels Morning answered, the security situation in Afghanistan remains very difficult and challenging. And, of course, the decision to withdraw our troops entails risks, but also to stay, we’d have implemented risks for our Alliance with more fighting, potentially more fighting, more and more casualties, and even the need to maybe increase the number of troops. So therefore, we made the decision to end our mission within weeks. I think we have to understand that the intention was never to stay in Afghanistan forever.
NATO Secretary General said, over the last years, we have gradually reduced our presence from more than 100,000 troops, not so many years ago, to around 10,000 troops at the beginning of this year, and now it will go down to zero in the military mission. But as we end our military mission, we are stepping up our support to Afghanistan in other ways. Stoltenberg added, first of all, we will maintain our civilian presence in Afghanistan to provide advice and capacity building to the Afghan security institutions. We will fund the Afghan Security Forces, make sure that we are allocating significant amounts of money to the Afghan Security Forces. And we will also provide, we are planning to provide out-of-country training for the Afghan Security Forces. And we are also now working on how we can sustain critical infrastructure. For instance, the airport provides support to the running of the airport and other critical infrastructure, which is important for the continued presence of the international community in Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General answering a question from Radio Free Europe correspondent said, I strongly believe that at some stage the Afghans had to take full responsibility for their own future. The only way to lasting peace in Afghanistan is for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. And as we end our military presence in Afghanistan, we will continue to provide support to the country with our civilian presence, helping with capacity building, with funding for the Afghan security forces, with helping to maintain some critical infrastructure including the airport, and then out-of-country training.

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