Jens Stoltenberg commends Ghani for his “leadership and initiative” regarding the peace process.
NATO Chief Says ‘No Decision Yet On Troops Withdrawal’
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday the organization’s role in Afghanistan is about providing conditions a political, peaceful solution.
Addressing journalists before the start of the defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Stoltenberg said: “The aim is of course not to be in Afghanistan forever, the aim is to be in Afghanistan to fight terrorism and to train, assist and advise Afghan National Army, security forces so they can stabilize their own country.”
He also said no decision has been taken about any withdrawal of troops, “but we strongly support the efforts to reach a political peaceful settlement and therefore we are in close contact with the US special envoy Ambassador (Zalmay) Khalilzad”.
Stoltenberg said he has briefed NATO allies three times over the recent weeks on efforts to reach an agreement with the Taliban.
“I would also like to commend President (Ashraf) Ghani for his leadership and initiative he took last year with the ceasefire and the peace process he initiated last year.
“It’s important that we have, as part of the peace process, an Afghan reconciliation process and of course the Afghan government has to be part of that.
“NATO allies went in together in Afghanistan, we will make decision on our future posture in Afghanistan together based on conditions determined together with the Afghans,” he said.
In conclusion, Stoltenberg said: “… we support the peace efforts and we will of course do whatever we can to fully support the implementation of a peace deal if that’s reached.”
The NATO defense minister’s meeting will focus on serious security issues around the world, including the situation in Afghanistan and will be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels.