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Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of meetings of NATO Foreign Ministers and following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council

NATO faces crossroads amid hasty US withdrawal plans

AT News

KABUL: Amid efforts to give momentum to peace talks in Doha, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg termed it an historic opportunity for peace in Afghanistan. He stated that upcoming months are decisive for the country.

“The negotiations in Doha are fragile, but they are best chance for peace in a generation,” Stoltenberg said at a virtual press conference following NATO’s defense ministerial meeting. “All Afghans should seize this historic opportunity.”

The Taliban must reduce the “unacceptable” levels of violence to pave the way for ceasefire, he said, calling on the group to must break all ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups so that Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for terrorist attacks in NATO countries.

Stoltenberg also stressed on the importance of preserving the gains made over the last two decades.

“I think it is clear that we will face a dilemma in the coming months, because we can either decide to leave Afghanistan and then risk to see that the gains we have made will be lost and that Afghanistan again, can become a safe haven for international terrorists, or we can decide to stay, but then, of course, risk to continue a long-term commitment in Afghanistan and also continue to face intensified fighting with Taliban,” Stoltenberg said.

According to him, NATO has 12,000 troops in Afghanistan and its presence is conditions-based.

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