AT News Report
KABUL: NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg has said that Afghanistan is part of their global fight against ISIS, also known as Daesh, and that the allies wanted to be sure the Caliphate, which the group has lost in Iraq and Syria, would not be reestablished in the country.
Responding to a question asked by FT at a press conference on Wednesday regarding NATO’s concerns about the ISIS presence in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said, “we know that ISIS is present in Afghanistan. We have seen some horrendous attacks committed by ISIS in Afghanistan, recently against the mosque where they killed 69 people. So NATO’s presence in Afghanistan and our train, assist and advise mission there where we have roughly 8000 non-US soldiers in that mission, and then we have the US soldiers, is part of our global efforts to defeat ISIS and part of burden sharing.”
The secretary general has announced the NATO’s support to the resumption of peace talks but called on the Taliban to show willingness and make a real comprises to agree on a credible peace deal.
“What we need is a deal in which in a credible way preserves the gains we have made in Afghanistan for Afghan people, for women, for journalists, for everyone who believes in a democratic, free Afghanistan,” he said.
Stoltenberg added the allies would remain committed to the military presence in Afghanistan and that this is the best way to support the peace process as the Taliban were not able to win in the battlefield.
While asked about the reduction of 2,000 US troops from Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said, “We have seen some adjustments up and down in the number of troops, as we have seen in the US presence. But we will stay committed.”
Also talking about the Afghan presidential election, the secretary general has called the transparency and predictability of election process vital important, saying that the important message is that all parties should show restraint and let the electoral bodies finish their work.
This comes as preliminary results from September 28th presidential election — expected to be reported on October 19 – have been delayed, and the country’s Independent Election Commission says the delay would further ensure the transparency of the electoral process and restore the people’s confidence in it.
Unfortunately, the IEC says, due to some technical issues and transparency they could not announce the result based on the election timetable.