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US, NATO support political settlement in Afghanistan

AT News Report

KABUL: Washington and its NATO partners are on the same boat that best way to ensure terrorist will never again be able to attack them is an enduring political settlement in Afghanistan. 

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a statement on Saturday said, “the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan continues to build the capabilities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. I shared with the alliance my assessment earlier in the week, when I visited our troops and Afghan partners there.”

“NATO remains fully committed to the Resolute Support mission, along with our objective — of ensuring terrorists are never again able to attack our homelands from Afghanistan.  We all agree the best way to achieve this outcome is through an enduring political settlement,” he added.

 “As we adapt to changing conditions in Afghanistan, we are looking for ways to better optimise our force structure.  Our goal is to maintain a sustainable force that meets the requirements of the mission. We will continue to consult with our allies, along with the Afghan government, to refine the way ahead in Afghanistan,” he said.

Responding to a question on the resumption of peace talks, he said: “I’m not — you know, those are sensitive diplomatic negotiations. If and when they begin, I’m not going to get in front of the State Department.  Obviously, we think that the reduction in violence is very important as we consider and complete an agreement.”

Furthermore, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference on Friday following the defense minister’s meeting said that the allies had discussed the peace process in Afghanistan.

“We have just finished a meeting on Afghanistan with all our operational partners in the Resolute Support Mission,” Stoltenberg said, “NATO remains committed. And we continue to support the Afghan security forces with training and funding.”

“But in order to make that (peace) possible, the Taliban need to demonstrate real willingness to make real compromises. To reach a credible peace deal.” Stoltenberg said.

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