NATO leaders are expected to extend funding for Afghan forces beyond 2020, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels.
The NATO summit will be held on Thursday in Brussels, where the alliance’s leaders are expected to reaffirm their support to Afghan defense and security forces.
“Our presence in Afghanistan is vital to ensuring the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorism,” Stoltenberg said.
He said that NATO is increasing its commitment to Afghanistan both in forces and funding. He stressed that NATO has added around 3,000 more trainers to its mission in Afghanistan.
“At the summit, I expect we will also agree to extend funding for the Afghan forces beyond 2020,” Stoltenberg said.
He added that the alliance’s leaders would express their full support for Afghan President Ghani’s “bold” peace initiative and his government’s reforms.
NATO chief’s remarks come as the Afghan government leaders – President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah – already left Kabul for Brussels to attend the summit. Afghan leaders are expected to meet with leaders of the countries supporting Afghanistan and discuss the current situation in their war-weary country.
“A number of issues are going to be addressed [at the summit] including Afghanistan, transnational counter-terrorism efforts, support for the peace process and fight against economic organized crime networks,” said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Deputy Spokesman of the President’s Office.
The official added that the outcomes of the NATO summit could be “highly important” for Afghanistan.
By Sharif Hassanyar