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US, NATO vow long term support to Afghan forces

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said the other day that the United States and NATO are committed to a long term support to the Afghan national security forces.

Speaking during a press conference following the conclusion of the NATO defense ministerial, Carter said “the US does intend, and NATO has pledged to both complete the Resolute Support mission and to have a continuing commitment to support the Afghan security forces after December 2016.”

He said: “I’ll tell you as I told Defense Ministers today that it’s my intention to put in the US defense budget for 2017 funding for Afghanistan. It’s not the case that the US or NATO is leaving Afghanistan. We intend to remain in a role of advice and assistance, and in support to the Afghan security forces which have shown themselves to be so brave and capable.”

The Resolute Support mission was launched earlier this year as the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission was concluded after 13 years late in the month of December last year.

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Afghan forces have dealt effectively with the security challenges and during the past 6 months since the Afghan forces took full responsibility for security in Afghanistan.

“Afghan forces have shown exemplary courage, determination and commitment in these very challenging environments,” Stoltenberg said.

At the same time, he said, the Afghan government has set out an ambitious reform program. “We encourage the government to continue to implement these reforms,” he vowed.

He added that their forces continue to provide training, advice and assistance, and they are beginning to plan for the next stage of our Resolute Support mission.

“To look at what we need to do, and how will best to do it. This will continue in the coming months and we will make further decisions later in this year,” Stoltenberg said.

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