KABUL (SW) – The NATO Defence Ministers met in Brussels this week (12-13 February 2020) to address what could be done do to build stability in the Middle East, the Alliance’s support for Afghanistan and challenges posed by Russia’s missile systems.
The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has said the ministerial will conclude on Thursday by meeting with all nations contributing to NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan. He said that despite challenging circumstances Afghan forces are getting stronger and are helping create the conditions for peace. “We fully support the efforts led by the United States to end the conflict and achieve a peaceful solution”, the Secretary General said, adding that Allies remain in close consultations on the way forward. Speaking to the prospects of a peace deal, the Secretary General made clear that the Taliban must commit to a reduction in violence and show that they are genuinely committed to peace.
“We also addressed Afghanistan. As we continue to consult closely on the way forward. NATO fully supports the US-led peace efforts, which can pave the way for intra-Afghan talks. But the Taliban need to demonstrate that they are both willing and capable to deliver a reduction of violence. And contribute to peace in good faith. The aim of our Resolute Support mission is to strengthen the Afghan security forces, so they can fight terrorism and create the conditions for peace. And we will continue our discussion tomorrow with all our contributing partners”, he said.
He said Taliban has to show and demonstrate a real willingness, a real willingness and that they are capable of delivering reduction in violence. “And, Taliban has also understand that they will never win on the battlefield, they have to make real compromises around the negotiating table. And that’s exactly why the best way NATO can support the peace process is to continue to support, train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces and continue to provide funding. We are committed to do that”, he said.
“And then, of course, it will depend on the intra-Afghan dialogue and the results of a peace agreement in the future. That will decide what role NATO can play in the future in Afghanistan. The important thing today is that we are committed and we are ready to continue to provide support, as long as that is wanted and needed to create the conditions for a lasting peace”, he added.
Stoltenberg said NATO has achieved a lot by strengthening the Afghan army and security forces. “We will continue to train them. We are working on many different strands together, including helping them to develop air force, special operations forces, command and control, and in many other areas. And we see the results because now the Afghans have an air force. They are able to conduct air operations themselves. They have a much larger special operation forces than they had before. So we see, step by step, that by providing training and assistance, we are helping the Afghans to protect and help themselves”.