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NATO, Russia want stable, democratic Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: NATO and Russia shared a common interest in Afghanistan, which was free, safe and democratic Afghanistan, said NATO Secretary General Gen. Jens Stoltenberg.

Briefing newsmen after the NATO-Russian Council meeting at Brussels, he said that the two sides discussed security situation in Afghanistan.

A stable Afghanistan was essential for regional security, a share goal of NATO and Russia, he added.

“We had a frank and useful decision on three key issues: Ukraine, Afghanistan, and transparency and risk reduction. In the case of Ukraine, NATO Allies and Russian continue to have fundamental disagreements,” he added.

The Crimean issue and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine remained clear points of contention, and heavy weapons have not been withdrawn from the conflict zone, he said.

NATO often reiterated support for Afghanistan in the future. The alliance is involved in train advice and support mission of Afghan security forces.

NATO Allies and Russia share a common interest to support the National Unity government and to work towards a free, safe and democratic Afghanistan, Stoltenberg added.

In response to a question regarding support of the Taliban by Russia, NATO SG said, yes it was mentioned, but not as an important issue.

“We have seen reports, but we haven’t seen any proofs, any confirmed information about that kind of support, and Russia has clearly stated that they’re not supporting Taliban.” he said.

The focus of the meeting was the importance of supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. “I welcome the fact that President Ghani has initiated such a process. And it was a meeting in Kabul a few weeks ago that was an important first step to try to re-energize or to give more strength to the reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” Stoltenberg added.

In its recent defense minister meeting, the NATO assured to continue supporting Afghan security forces, the best strategy the alliance believed to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan.


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