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NATO, New Zealand Work Together to Stabilize Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

(Last Updated On: January 14, 2017)

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The aim of NATO presence in Afghanistan is to prevent the country from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday during a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of New Zealand at the NATO Headquarters.

Although, he insisted that Afghanistan is facing problems, but vowed that NATO will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists.

NATO Secretary General also thanked New Zealand for its help in training and strengthening Afghan forces so they could protect their own country.

“New Zealand participated in NATO’s combat operation but in the last two years, we have not been engaged in a combat operation in Afghanistan, we have been engaged in a train, assist and advice operation, where we train the Afghan forces to stabilise their own country and to take responsibility for the security of Afghanistan themselves,” Stoltenberg said.

He said the aim of the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission is to train, assist, and advise the Afghan security forces to fight terrorism and stabilize their own country.

“NATO has developed this project – what we call Projecting Stability – which is to try to help states enabling them to stabilize their own country and to fight terrorism themselves and that’s exactly what we do, for instance, in Afghanistan where we have ended the combat operation but where we – together with New Zealand – train, assist, and advise the Afghan security forces to fight terrorism themselves,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bill English the Prime Minister of New Zealand spoke about his country’s contribution to NATO’s missions in order to achieve their aims.

He said that they had demonstrated their commitment through their “contribution to NATO’s only long-standing contribution to Afghanistan”.

New Zealand is not a member of NATO but has a partnership agreement with the treaty. In July, New Zealand announced that its troops would stay in Afghanistan until mid-2018 to help train Afghan forces. It also increased the number of trainers from eight to 10.

This comes as Afghanistan experienced a tough year in 2016 with security challenges almost everywhere in the war-torn country. The insurgent groups mainly the Taliban and ISIL launched high-profile attacks aiming to gain the control of some provincial capitals, but they were resisted by the Afghan security forces.

Reported by: Bais Hayat

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