‘We Won’t Stay Longer Than Necessary in Afghanistan’ – NATO Chief

(Last Updated On: January 29, 2019)

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance’s forces will not stay longer than necessary in Afghanistan.

Addressing in a meeting, with the Acting Defense Secretary of the United States Patrick Shanahan in Washington, Mr. Stoltenberg said that the foreign forces will continue its presence in Afghanistan until the Afghan force be able to take care of security and stability in the war-torn country.

“We will not stay longer than necessary, but we will not leave before we have a situation which enables to leave or at reduce the number of troops without jeopardizing the main goal of our presence, and that is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists once again,” Stoltenberg said.

He added that the main goal of foreign troop’s presence in Afghanistan is to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.

NATO Chief, meanwhile, welcomed the ongoing peace talks between the United States and the Taliban in a bid create a condition for a peaceful solution in war-weary Afghanistan.

“We continue to stay with the United States in Afghanistan.  We welcome the talks with the Taliban.  Ambassador Khalilzad briefed all allies a few weeks ago…” Stoltenberg said. “…we are encouraged by what we see now, the progress and — and talks with Taliban.”

NATO Chief’s remarks come amid diplomatic efforts to bring the Taliban into a negotiating table with the Afghan government.

On Monday President Ashraf Ghani, in a televised address, said that current presence of foreign forces is based on need and that no Afghans need them in their country for a long term.

“The current presence of foreign forces is based on need, and this need has always been contemplated and will be contemplated… And according to an exact and arranged plan, we are trying to bring down that number to zero.”

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