Officials said the summit is extremely important to Afghanistan in terms of resolving security issues and securing funds for security forces.
NATO Reiterates Support to Afghan Peace Ahead of Key Summit
President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah both left Kabul on Tuesday for NATO’s heads of state summit where they hope to secure continued support from the alliance.
The Presidential Palace (ARG) said the NATO summit provides an effective platform for Afghanistan to seek continued support of the alliance towards funding and equipping the Afghan security forces until 2024 and mobilizing views of the international community towards restoring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
According to Afghan officials, the summit is of major importance for Afghanistan in terms of security, peace talks and the continued financial support to the Afghan security forces.
“The outcome of the summit can be very important for Afghanistan. Because we have the support of our international partners towards funding and equipping the security forces and also the political consensus of the countries towards the peace process,” said Ghani’s spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meanwhile said on Tuesday at a press conference that NATO would close the summit with a meeting on Afghanistan, joined by Resolute Support partners.
“We will continue our presence in Afghanistan to put pressure on Taliban so they join the peace process.”
“Our presence in Afghanistan is vital to ensuring the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorism.
“And Allies are increasing their commitment, both in forces and funding. We have added around 3,000 more trainers to our mission,” he said.
Stoltenberg also said: “I expect we will also agree to extend funding for the Afghan forces beyond 2020. And we’ll express our full support for President Ghani’s bold peace initiative. And his government’s reforms.”
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Salvation of Afghanistan, said on Tuesday in an open letter to NATO leaders, that over the years, certain circles within the government led by Ghani have been involved in plotting cases and resorting to assassinations, as well as spreading dissent among the people of Afghanistan.
“Unfortunately, in recent years, certain circles within the absolute central government led by Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani have used all their resources towards imposing the governance of a particular circle on the rest of the ethnic groups and the current crisis in Afghanistan once again reminds our people of the bitter days in our history,” read the letter.
The coalition also accused Ghani of having a prejudiced agenda in some regions of the country under the pretext of working for peace.
“President Ghani and the central government, under the pretext of a peace process, which is a fundamental need for all Afghans, has always tried to pave the way for the expansion of influence of terrorist groups on some regions in order to promote his prejudiced desires,” read the letter.
“What has been done by government over the past week is dramatic; these gradual moves will never have lasting results ahead of them,” said civil society activist Aziz Rafaee referring to the crackdown on certain individuals including the arrest of Nizamuddin Qaisari, police chief of Qaisar district in Faryab province and a close aide to First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum.
Qaisari’s arrest, said to have been over his threats and insults directed at government officials, sparked protests in Faryab and other northern provinces in the days that followed.
In addition to being a close Dostum aide, Qaisari is also the commander of the public uprising forces in the province.
He was taken into custody last Monday after being called to attend a security meeting at the 1st Regiment of the 209 Shaheen Army Corps.
In reaction to his arrest, hundreds of protestors from Faryab province poured on to the streets in protest against the move.
Meanwhile, People’s Peace Movement activists, who are now in their 5th day of a sit-in protest in front of the Russian embassy in Kabul, have also called on NATO leaders to help Afghanistan in its efforts to achieve lasting peace and security.
“We call on the NATO leaders to take practical steps towards ending the war in Afghanistan; currently, war is ongoing in every village of Afghanistan and people are suffering because of this violence,” said movement leader Iqbal Khyber.
The NATO Heads of State and Government summit will take place in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday and will be chaired by Jens Stoltenberg.