Afghanistan main topic in December meeting: Stoltenberg
KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO’s secretary general has said the military alliance could help and support the Afghan forces, but could not in the long run conduct big combat operations in Afghanistan.
“That’s the reason why we ended (combat mission) last year and went to this train, assist and advise mission which we are part of now,” Jens Stoltenberg told a joint press conference with Spanish Minister of Defence Pedro Morenes Eulate at the Trident Juncture 2015 Distinguished Visitor's day in Zaragoza, Spain.
Stoltenberg said NATO’s presence through the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan would be a main topic when NATO’s foreign ministers would meet on December 1, 2.
“We will discuss, then we will decide on the future presence of NATO in Afghanistan. So it’s a bit, and I will not prejudge the exact conclusions but what, but what I will say today is that I welcome that several NATO allies have already announced flexibility to continue to stay and to stay longer than the original plans.”
He said US announced a few weeks ago that they would continue with a substantial presence and Germany has decided to continue to stay and also United Kingdom and others.
“So I welcome the flexibility, I welcome the will of NATO allies and partners, there are several NATO partners also in Afghanistan, and I welcome that because I think that what we see in Afghanistan is a challenging, demanding security situation which requires that we continue to support the Afghans. “
“Exactly in what ways I think we have to wait until the end of the month or the first and the second of December to be more specific about. We will not go into a new combat operation, we ended the combat operation at the end of last year but what we have decided is then to continue Resolute Support Mission which is train, assist and advise and the question is how we do that, with what kind of troops and for how long.”
In addition to NATO presence to train, assist and advise the Afghan Forces, he said they would also continue to provide financial support for the National Afghan Forces because in the long run they have to have the responsibility for security of their own country.
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