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NATO supports US efforts to end war in Afghanistan

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KABUL: The NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg has said that NATO is fully support US peace efforts in Afghanistan.

In a pre-ministerial press conference on Tuesday ahead of the meetings of NAOT Defense Ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg said “We fully support the efforts led by the United States to end the conflict and to achieve a peaceful solution.

“We will conclude the ministerial by meeting with all nations contributing to our training mission in Afghanistan. Our Resolute Support Mission is making a difference. Despite the challenging circumstances, the brave Afghan security forces are getting stronger. And they are helping create the conditions for peace,” he told the newsmen.

Allies are consulting closely on the way forward. The US Special Representative, Ambassador Khalilzad, was recently here to discuss the latest developments, he added.

“I expect ministers will address the peace process and how our Resolute Support Mission can best support it. The Taliban must understand they cannot win on the battlefield. They must commit to a reduction in violence, and show that they are genuinely committed to a peaceful future for Afghanistanm,” he furthered.

In response to a question about Kabul suicide bombing, Stoltenberg has strongly condemned the attack in Kabul on Tuesday morning.

“It shows once again the consequences of horrendous violence against innocent civilians. It also demonstrates the strong need to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. And that’s exactly why we continue to provide strong support to the Afghan security forces because we believe and we are convinced that the best way for NATO to create the conditions for peace is to support, train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces so they are able to send a clear message to the Taliban, to terrorists, that they will never win on the battlefield and they have to sit down at the negotiating table and make real compromises, reduce violence and engage in an intra-Afghan dialogue to create a lasting peace,” he added.

“We hope that we can see progress as soon as possible and that’s exactly what we are working for and we are also consulting of course very closely with all Allies and also with the US and the US envoy negotiating with the Taliban, Ambassador Khalilzad. This will be an important issue to be addressed and discussed among Allies today (Wednesday) and the day after tomorrow when we meet. Because we are pushing for progress on the peace process as soon as possible,” he furthered.

“We went into Afghanistan together – all Allies and partners. We will make decisions on the adjustment of our force levels together and one day we will leave together. Because we are not in Afghanistan to stay there forever. We are there to create the conditions for peace and to enable the Afghan security forces to protect themselves without our help,” he added.

Afghanistan Interior Ministry on Tuesday said six people were killed and 12 others wounded in an explosion near a military academy in the capital Kabul.

According to the ministry, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a roundabout close to the Marshal Fahim Military Academy.

The Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said two civilians and four army personnel were killed and at least 12 others, including five civilians, were wounded.

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