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NATO hints at continuation of Resolute Support mission

NATO hints at continuation of Resolute Support mission

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Jul 07, 2018 - 11:11

KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO has indicated its Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan will continue as long as conditions on the ground warrant it

Based on an invitation from the Afghan government, the Western military alliance has a conditions-based approach, with no end-date for the mission.

“We will continue to carry it out as long as conditions on the ground warrant it,” NATO spokesperson in Brussels Oana Lungescu said in an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News.

Last year, she recalled, allies and troop-contributing partners affirmed their commitment to raise the strength of the Resolute Support Mission from around 13,000 to around 16,000 troops in 2018. We have delivered on this commitment. The mission’s current strength is more than 16,000 troops.”

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Q: How important is the upcoming NATO summit?

A: At the NATO summit in Brussels on 11 and 12 July, our leaders will take the next steps to adapt NATO in the face of evolving challenges. There will be five key themes for our decisions.

First, how to further enhance our deterrence and defence, with stronger reinforcement and higher readiness of allied forces.

Second, how to better project stability in our neighbourhood. This is essential in the fight against terrorism and for our own security. We plan to launch a training mission in Iraq, and reconfirm our commitment to Afghanistan’s security.

Third, stronger cooperation with the European Union on issues such as fighting terrorism, military mobility and capacity-building of partners.

Fourth, alliance modernisation, including the adaptation of the NATO command structure.

And last but not least, fairer burden-sharing is the foundation for everything we do.

Q: What they will discuss?

A: We will take decisions to strengthen the readiness of our forces and modernize the NATO command structure.

We will also step up our fight against terrorism. We will launch a new training mission in Iraq to build on the gains of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and to ensure that ISIS does not return. We will also increase our support for our partners, including Jordan and Tunisia.

Our dedicated session on Afghanistan is also part of our continued efforts to project stability beyond our borders and to fight terrorism.

Q:  What they will discuss regarding Afghanistan?

A: Afghanistan will be a major theme in the Summit agenda. There will be a dedicated meeting on Afghanistan on 12 July. All NATO Allies and all operational partners contributing troops to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions will attend it. Afghanistan, representatives from the UN, the EU, and the World Bank, as well as the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan the Commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission have also been invited to attend; and we look forward to welcoming Qatar and the United Arab Emirates at the table.

Q: Will any important decisions be taken on Afghanistan?

A: First of all, I expect our leaders to reaffirm our continued commitment to Afghanistan’s lasting security and our conditions-based approach.

Secondly, I expect leaders will agree to extend funding for the Afghan forces beyond 2020.

The meeting will also be an opportunity to exchange views on the continued progress made by the Afghan security forces and institutions. It will allow leaders to reaffirm their steadfast support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. And it will be a chance for Afghanistan to brief on preparations for the upcoming elections and on the government’s important reforms, including the fight against corruption and promotion of the human rights of all Afghans.

Q: Will the Resolute Support Mission continue?

A: Our Resolute Support Mission is based on an invitation by the Afghan Government, and we have a conditions-based approach. Therefore, there is no end-date. We will continue to carry it out as long as conditions on the ground warrant it. At the last NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016, our leaders committed to sustain the Resolute Support mission beyond 2016 through a flexible, regional model, to continue to deliver training, advice and assistance to the Afghan Security Institutions including the police, the air force and special operations forces. So, we will continue to keep the mission and its configuration under review.

Last year, Allies and operational troop contributing partners committed to raise the strength of our Resolute Support Mission from around 13,000 to around 16,000 troops during the course of this year. We have delivered on this commitment. The mission’s current strength is more than 16,000 troops.

Q: What about financial support for the Afghan security forces?

A: We are committed to provide our support to the financial sustainment of the Afghan security forces through 2020. At next week’s Summit I expect our leaders to agree to extend funding for the Afghan security forces beyond 2020.

Q: Who will attend the Summit from Afghanistan?

A: We expect both President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to attend.

mud

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