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NATO Welcomes ‘Contacts and Talks’ Between US, Taliban

(Last Updated On: December 3, 2019)

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General, said on Friday that he welcomes “contacts and talks” between the United States and the Taliban militant group aimed at achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Addressing a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Friday, Jens Stoltenberg said that as NATO continues to support Afghan security forces to create the conditions for peace in Afghanistan, the “Taliban needs to make real compromises to achieve a credible deal.”

“Secretary Pompeo has discussed, briefed [the] Allies. Ambassador Khalilzad had briefed [the] Allies, discussed this with Allies. And we are consulting all the time because it’s not the only US that is in Afghanistan but you have to remember that there are also many non-US troops in Afghanistan,” he said.

Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO’s presence in Afghanistan remains its “biggest” military operation outside Europe and he emphasized that NATO’s mission is “to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.”

“It’s extremely important that we avoid or prevent ISIS to establish themselves in Afghanistan, or to try to re-establish a kind of terrorist caliphate in Afghanistan, which they lost in the Levant,” he noted.

“It’s extremely important that we avoid or prevent ISIS to establish themselves in Afghanistan, or to try to re-establish a kind of terrorist caliphate in Afghanistan, which they lost in the Levant,” he noted.

Referring to the Taliban, the Secretary-General said that the militant group will not win on the battlefield; therefore, they have to sit down at the negotiating table and make real compromises.

“We think that the best way we can make sure that there is a credible deal, a real deal, is that we continue to support the Afghan security forces, sending a message to Taliban that we are ready to stay, we are committed,” Jens Stoltenberg said adding, “but of course, we also welcome any efforts to try to find a peaceful, negotiated solution, including, of course, reduction of violence.”

The Secretary-General’s comments come as U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday made a surprise Thanksgiving visit to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan where he declared that he had reopened talks with the Taliban militant group.

“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire and they didn’t want to do a cease-fire, and now they do want to do a cease-fire,” Trump said. “I believe it’ll probably work out that way.”

Since 2001, 2,400 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history. The U.S. has spent more than $900 billion on everything from military operations to the construction of roads, bridges and power plants.

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