LONDON (SW) – NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed contacts and talks between the United States and the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan.
He said this on Friday ahead of the NATO leaders' meeting in London on 3 and 4 December. Secretary General Stoltenberg said these contacts are also something which the US is consulting with other NATO Allies regularly. “Secretary Pompeo has discussed, briefed Allies. Ambassador Khalilzad has briefed Allies, discussed this with Allies. And we are consulting all the time because it is not only US in Afghanistan but we have to remember there are also many non-US troops in Afghanistan”, he said.
He added Afghanistan shows the strength of NATO, bringing Allies, and partners together, addressing a common challenge to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.
“And, it is extremely important that we avoid or prevent ISIS to establish themselves in Afghanistan or to try to reestablish a kind of terrorist caliphate in Afghanistan which they lost in the Levant. We think that the best way we can make sure that there is a credible deal, a real deal, is that we continue to support the Afghan security forces, sending a message to the Taliban that we are ready to stay, we are committed, and they will not win on the battlefield”, he added.
Stoltenberg stressed the Taliban have to sit down at the negotiating table and make real compromises. “And therefore the message from NATO is that we are committed, we will continue to support the Afghan security forces but of course we also welcome any efforts to try to find a peaceful negotiated solution, including, of course, reduction of violence”, he added.
NATO’s support to Afghanistan is focused on three main areas.
- The NATO-led Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions.
- Funding of the Afghan security forces as part of a broader international effort.
- The NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership, which is being developed jointly with the Government of Afghanistan.
The Resolute Support Mission currently consists of around 17,000 troops from 38 NATO Allies and partners. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also joining this NATO-led mission.