NATO and Afghanistan ready to open new chapter, NATO Secretary General stresses in Kabul
ISAF has achieved what it set out to do and NATO is now ready to open a new chapter in its relationship with Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today [Thursday, 6 November] in Kabul, after meeting President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul.
“We have made our nations safer by pursuing the international terrorists who used Afghanistan as a safe haven to launch horrific attacks. And we have made Afghanistan stronger by helping to build capable national security forces” the Secretary General said at a joint press conference with President Ghani. “Next year, we will open a new chapter. The future of Afghanistan will be in Afghan hands. But our support will continue.”
NATO Secretary General paid tribute to the dedication, courage and sacrifice of Afghan and international forces from the 50 ISAF troop contributing nations.
“Together, we have created the conditions for a better future for Afghan men, women and children”, he said. “This progress has come at great cost. To NATO, our partners, and to Afghanistan. We will hold those who lost their lives in our memory. And we must honor them by remaining committed to our common efforts.”
The ISAF mission will end on 31 December 2014. As of 1 January 2015, NATO will launch a new non-combat mission to pursue the development of Afghan security forces’ capacity. Other aspects of NATO’s continued commitment will include contribution to the financial sustainment of the Afghan security forces and the enhancement of NATO’s long-term partnership with Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary General commended President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah for their leadership and commitment as part of the newly elected national unity government.
“These are key for a stable, sovereign, democratic and united Afghanistan”, he stressed. “We count on our Afghan partners to play their part. And to live up to the commitments they have made.”
Mr Stoltenberg said he looked forward to the timely completion of the parliamentary process for the NATO-Afghanistan Status of Forces Agreement, and to further progress on good governance, the rule of law, and human rights, including the rights of women. These are part of Afghanistan's commitments as agreed with the international community as part of the 2012 Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.
NATO Secretary General invited President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah to the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels in early December.