NATO reaffirms continued support to Afghanistan
NATO Leaders at the Wales Summit reaffirmed on Thursday (4 September 2014) their commitment to supporting Afghanistan and called on the two presidential candidates to work together and to conclude the necessary security agreements as soon as possible, as they have said they will. The ISAF Heads of State and Government also asked the two candidates to “swiftly deliver a peaceful outcome of this election, acceptable to the Afghan people,” the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Leaders from NATO nations joined by ISAF partner countries reaffirmed their readiness to launch a non-combat mission in Afghanistan after 2014 to help train, advise and assist Afghan security forces, providing necessary legal arrangements are signed without delay. “I cannot stress too strongly how important this is,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said. “Without a signature, there can be no mission. Our planning is complete but time is short.” The post-2014 Resolute Support Mission is one of the three pillars of NATO’s long-term engagement in Afghanistan, along with a contribution to the long-term sustainment of the Afghan National Army and the strengthening of long-term political and practical cooperation with Afghanistan. “With the end of ISAF in December, we will change the nature and the scope of our involvement in Afghanistan,” said the Secretary General. “But our commitment will endure because stability in Afghanistan also means security for us.” This three-pronged engagement is aimed to build on the gains achieved throughout the thirteen-year long ISAF mission, particularly in the development of strong, professional and capable security forces, as well as in the fields of education, health, economic development, human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably for women.
During the meeting, ISAF leaders underlined the importance of continued support by the international community, and of sustained efforts by the Afghan Government, notably in continuing to increase its financial accountability and contribution, improve governance and rule of law, promote and protect human rights for all. The meeting also provided the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women from Afghan and international forces who have served in the country and in other NATO operations. “This is the right time to remember what we have sacrificed and what we have achieved”, NATO Secretary General said. “Their courage, effort and sacrifice have made all our nations safer and improved global security.”
Afghan Defence Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, leaders from Japan, Central Asian states, as well as representatives from key international community partners from the United Nations and the European Union also attended the meeting.