06 May 2017

News Story: NATO Chief Tells EU Alliance Needs To Stay In Afghanistan

By Massoud Ansar

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an address to the European Parliament that the alliance needs to stay in Afghanistan and help conventional Afghan forces in their campaign against terrorism. 

“We have played a key role in Afghanistan for many many years. Our military presence in Afghanistan, is our biggest mission ever. And all NATO allies have participated, but also many non-NATO allies have participated, because they are partners they have participated in the recent support mission, and before that ISAF mission in Afghanistan. And many of the countries that are not members of NATO, but members of EU have been in Afghanistan,” said Stoltenberg. 

Addressing the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, Stoltenberg said the organization needs to make decisions on its in presence in Afghanistan in the coming years. 

“We have ended our combat operations in Afghanistan, but we continue to train and assist and advise the Afghan forces to enable them to stabilize their own country, enable them to fight terrorism themselves. And I think that if there's one lesson we've learned, both from Afghanistan, but also in a different way, but at least the same lesson, we have learned from Bosnia-Herzegovena and from Kosovo, is that in the long-run it's much better if we are able to train the local forces to stabilize their own country, to fight terrorism themselves, instead of NATO deploying a big number of combat troops, and big combat operations. 

“So building local capacity, training local forces is the key when it comes to NATO's contribution to fighting terrorism. We have to make decisions on our presence in Afghanistan in the coming years,” he said. 

This comes just days after Stoltenberg told a German daily Die Welt that NATO is considering sending additional military personnel to Afghanistan and increasing the timeframe of the deployment in view of the “challenging security situation.” 

Read the full story at TOLOnews