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Taliban must live up to its commitments, says Stoltenberg

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KABUL: The Taliban must live up to their commitments, significantly reduce the levels of violence, and pave the way for a ceasefire, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a pre-ministerial press conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg said all NATO members support the US-Taliban agreement and current Doha talks, but the Taliban must live up to its commitments.  

NATO’s stance is conditions-based and NATO is in Afghanistan to protect its own interests and to prevent the country from becoming a terrorist safe haven, he added.  

“As part of the peace process, we have adjusted our presence. Any further adjustments remain conditions-based.” 

He also talked about Taliban relation with al-Qaeda, saying the Taliban must break ties with the group and other international terrorist groups.

On Doha talks, he said that they must negotiate in good faith. The talks in Doha offer the best chance for peace in a generation. 

“They must preserve the gains made at such high price over the last two decades, including for women and girls. NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security,” he said. 

Stoltenberg said that the talks are the “best possible chance” for lasting peace that Afghanistan has seen in a while. He said there will be many “hurdles,” and the possibility of “setbacks.”  

This is as recently NATO Allies and partners met at the plenary meeting of the Afghan National Army Trust Fund Board. They reviewed the implementation of their financial contributions in support to the Afghan security forces, discussed contributions for 2021 and reiterated their commitment to provide financial support to the Afghan security forces through 2024.

“Today’s commitments help underpin the confidence that our financial support to the Afghan security forces will continue to be strong beyond 2020. International funding support to the Afghan forces is a key pillar of our commitment to Afghan security. As of 5 October 2020, total cumulative contributions made to the Trust Fund since its establishment amount to over 3,2 billion US dollars”, Stoltenberg said in that time.

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