NATO should fulfill continued aid pledge: MPs
KABUL (Pajhwok): Welcoming the end to NATO’s 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan, senators on Sunday urged the western military alliance to fulfill its promises of continued assistance to Afghan forces.
The NATO formally ended its longest combat mission in Afghanistan on Sunday when top officials of the US-led coalition pledged to remain long-term partners in Afghanistan’s war against the Taliban and international terrorism.
Several hundred Afghan and foreign officials gathered to witness the formal shift to a new, much smaller NATO assistance and training mission, inside NATO headquarters in Kabul.
“Our commitment to Afghanistan endures. . . . We are not walking away,” promised Gen. John F. Campbell, the US commander of the outgoing International Security Assistance Forces mission, who will remain in command of the new NATO support role that technically begins at midnight Wednesday.
Meshrano Jirga chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar told the upper house: “It is a proud moment for us that our security and economic sectors now themselves serve their own people.”
Senator Nisar Ahmad Haris said he was happy to see foreign flags lowering in Afghanistan and that of Afghanistan’s flags hoisting nationwide.
He said NATO in line with its promise should leave behind its military gear in Afghanistan instead of other countries so that they could use the equipment for the country’s defence.
“Afghanistan is no Iraq. If a war begins here and Afghan forces are not properly equipped, it will be hard to control the war.”
Senator Ali Akbar Jamshidi from central Daikundi province said NATO should support Afghan forces in terms of equipment and funding under agreements between Afghanistan and the alliance.
“The people of Afghanistan are thankful to NATO-led forces that they come here and fought terrorism and rendered sacrifices. It is a separate subject whether or not the people of Afghanistan and NATO reach their goals.”
Jamshidi said if NATO countries provided Afghan forces with essential military gear and other assistance, they would be able to effectively fight against the armed opposition.
But MP Khaliqdad Balaghi said NATO should acknowledge its defeat in the Afghanistan war because they were leaving Afghanistan halfway.
He said the NATO combat mission ended at a time when Afghan forces lacked equipment to defend the country alone.
However, he said Afghan forces should assure the people they could strongly defend the country in the absence of foreign forces.
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