NATO Secretary General tells ISAF troops: ''You have made a difference''
As NATO prepares to complete the ISAF mission at the end of the year, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited ISAF troops in the south, west and north of Afghanistan to thank them for their dedicated service and their sacrifice over the last 13 years. During visits to Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Mr Stoltenberg told service men and women, as well as civilian personnel from the 50 ISAF nations: "You have made a real difference. You have helped Afghanistan come a long way."
In Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Mr Stoltenberg took part in remembrance ceremonies for the fallen. He said, "I have come here to pay particular tribute to all those who gave their lives in the course of their duties. We honour their sacrifice. We keep in our thoughts those who have been injured. And we are grateful to all your families."
The Secretary General was briefed by ISAF commanders in each region on the progress of the security transition. He said ISAF had helped build up capable Afghan forces, ready to take full charge of the country's security at the end of the year, had played a vital role in making a better future for Afghanistan possible and had made our nations safer.
From January 1, NATO will lead a new mission, called Resolute Support, to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces. Allies and partner nations will also contribute to the financial sustainment of the Afghan forces.
Mr Stoltenberg stressed that NATO remained committed to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. During his three-day trip to the country, he was thanked by President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah for the role played by ISAF, and reassured that the national unity government will keep its commitments to deliver better governance, fight corruption, and expand progress on human rights, including the rights of women.