AT News Report
KABUL: NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said that they welcome the talks which are going on and they welcome the efforts by the United States to reach an agreement with the Taliban.
“I think I will be very careful about speculating when such an agreement will be reached. But we strongly support the efforts to have a political settlement, a political solution. And we have to remember that the reason why NATO is in Afghanistan, our military presence in Afghanistan, is to create the conditions for a political solution,” he told newsmen in a joint press conference with President of Lithuania GitanasNauseda.
“We are there to prevent Afghanistan for ever again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists. But the only way we thing is to achieve that in the long term is to create a political solution. Our military presence is there to create the conditions for a political solution,” the Stoltenberg added.
He further went on saying, “the Taliban have to understand
that they will never win on the battlefield. They have to sit down at the
negotiating table. And that is exactly what is happening now. And hopefully
there will be a solution that can then bring stability to Afghanistan and also
secure that we prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for
“We went into Afghanistan together – United States and NATO Allies. Roughly half of the troops are non-US troops – troops from Germany, from other NATO allied countries and partners. We will make decisions on our future presence together and when the time is right we will also leave together. We will not leave too early,” he furthered.
“But our aim is not to stay in Afghanistan forever. Our aim
is to make sure that Afghanistan never again creates the platform for threats,
for planning, for organizing, for funding terrorist attacks against our
countries,” he added.
“We are very closely consulting with Ambassador Khalilzad, the chief negotiator. I also have discussed this issue several times with Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Esperand also President Trump. And Khalilzad, the chief negotiator, has been several times here at NATO. So we are closely coordinated with the US on these efforts and we will make decisions together and we will reduce our presence together when the time is right and given that there is an agreement.”
“We will only do things which are in accordance with an agreement. And that’s exactly why we now have to continue to commit our support to continue to support the Afghan Security Forces both with training, advice and assistance, and also with funding. And the any reduction will happen as a result of an agreement,” Stoltenberg said in a response to a query.