Amid concerns of Afghans regarding the recent U.S.-Taliban peace talks, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance “strongly” supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday ahead of the NATO’s Foreign Ministers’ meeting, Stoltenberg said that alliance is in Afghanistan to create a foundation for a political solution.
“…we train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces, armed forces, to send a clear message to the Taliban that they will never win on the battlefield. So they have to sit down at the negotiating table and engage in a real peace negotiation with the government,” he said.
“Of course we expect all powers, countries in the region, including Russian and Iran, to support this Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and play a constructive role,” he added.
In response to a question, whether the past 16 years’ achievements in Afghanistan might get compromised in the negotiations with the Taliban, the NATO Secretary General said: “We strongly believe in a political settlement and a peace process which is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.”
“Therefore, it’s not for NATO to set specific red lines. It’s for those sitting around the negotiating table. But we support the Afghans. We also welcome the progress we have seen in Afghanistan when it comes to women’s rights, democracy,” he noted.
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO will continue to provide support to the Afghan government to “modernize” its institutions and strengthen its democratic processes.