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NATO wants peace deal that preserves Afghan gains

NATO wants peace deal that preserves Afghan gains

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Oct 23, 2019 - 18:26

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok):  NATOinfo-icon Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said the western military alliance has categorically reiterated its commitment to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon and troop reduction depended on political settlement in the war-torn country.

Addressing a press conference ahead of meetings of NATO defense ministers in Brussels this week (24-25 October), Stoltenberg outlined the topics for discussion, including NATO missions and operations, increasing the readiness of NATO forces, progress towards fairer burden-sharing, and the resilience of telecommunications systems.

He said they had to remember that Afghanistan was also part of their global fight against Daesh or Islamic State, as the group carried out some bloodiest attacks recently in Afghanistan.

He said the IS recent attack on a mosqueinfo-icon in Nangarhar province killed 69 people. “So NATO’s presence in Afghanistan is part of our global efforts to defeat ISIS.”

To a question about the credibility of the presidential election in Afghanistan, and NATO’s role to resolve a potential political crisis, the NATO Secretary General said: “Of course the transparency and predictability when it comes to elections are extremely important because we need free and fair elections.”

“I would like to commend the Afghan security forces for protecting and making it possible to have elections in Afghanistan. I think the important message now is that all parties should show restraint and calm and let electoral bodies finish their work so that we can have the outcome of the elections and then finalize the elections process in a well organized and a good way.”

About his meeting with US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad two days back, he said   Ambassador Khalilzad visited NATO a couple of days ago and he met him and the North Atlantic Council.

“He has been here many many times consulting with NATO allies. Because of course he negotiated with the Talibaninfo-icon and he has been responsible for the negotiations and talks with the Taliban. The talks have now broken down but NATO supports and I support the resumption of these talks.”

He said then the Taliban has to show real willingness to make real compromises and to agree on a credible peace deal.

“Because what we need is a deal in which in a credible way preserves the gains we have made in Afghanistan for Afghan people, for womeninfo-icon, for journalists, for everyone who believes in a democratic, free Afghanistan.”

The NATO chief also they should remember the reason why went into Afghanistan and it was to fight international terrorism.

“Therefore we support the resumption of the peace talks but then the Taliban had to show real willingness to make real compromises and we believe that the best way NATO can support this process is by remaining committed to our military presence.”

“Because the Taliban has to understand that they will never win on the battlefield. They have to sit down at the negotiating table and make compromises. So for us there is no contradiction between military presence and the efforts to find a political solution.”

He said strongly believed that a strong commitment of their military presence was the best way to provide the framework and the basis for a political solution.

He said NATO allies have stated again and again that we are committed to the Resolute Support mission. “We have seen some adjustments up and down in the number of troops, as we have seen in the US presence. But we will stay committed. We will maintain our mission.”

pr/ma

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