NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said that it is in the interest of the NATO and international peace to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for international terrorism.
“The security situation in Afghanistan remains difficult, we have seen a number of high profile attacks in the past month, but the Afghan forces stand firms so do we. We are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people, but we are also in Afghanistan to help ourselves. We are there to fight international terrorism and to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. This is in our own interest,” said Stoltenberg.
Speaking to the opening session of NATO foreign ministers meeting on peace and war in Afghanistan in Brussels, Stoltenberg said that the alliance will continue its military and financial support to Afghanistan through to 2024 so that the country is prevented from becoming safe haven for terrorists.
Addressing a press conference after the ministerial meeting, the NATO chief said Pakistan has to support the Afghan peace.
“We call on all countries to play a constructive role and to support the Afghan peace,” he said.
“We are concerned about the high number of casualties,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the situation may become worse. “We have seen some encouraging signs,” he added he recalled the ceasefire between Afghan government and the Taliban this year.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani represents Afghanistan in the conference.
The Afghan government also believes that NATO’s military and financial support to Afghanistan is vital.
“The Afghan security and defense forces are on the frontline of fighting regional and international terrorism. It is the responsibility of all countries to remain alongside the Afghan security forces and help them in fighting terrorism. We will still need the assistance of the US and NATO in terms of training and equipment until Afghan forces stands on its own feet,” said Ghafoor Ahmad Jawed, a spokesman for Ministry of Defense.
NATO has over 16,000 troops in Afghanistan within the structure of Resolute Support Mission and their role is to assist, advise and train the Afghan security forces.