NATO pays tribute to ISAF mission, as new chapter opens in relations with Afghanistan
The North Atlantic Council met for the last time in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) format today (17 December). “For well over a decade, our nations stood shoulder to shoulder in the largest coalition for peace and stability in history. This has been a challenging mission, in many respects. Militarily. Politically. Economically,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “But we have met these challenges. Together, we have done what we set out to do. With a clear United Nations mandate, we have denied safe haven to international terrorists. We have made Afghanistan stronger. And we have made our own nations safer”, Mr. Stoltenberg added. “Challenges still remain. But today, Afghanistan is more stable and prosperous than ever”.
Mr. Stoltenberg said NATO Allies and Partners were “confident in the ability of the Afghan National Security Forces to assume full responsibility” and that a new chapter will open in the relationship between NATO and Afghanistan from 1 January 2015. “It will centre on our new Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. We will also contribute to the financing of the Afghan security forces.”
The NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Ambassador Maurits Jochems and the current Deputy Commander of ISAF, Lieutenant General Carsten Jacobson addressed the meeting. It was attended by representatives of the fifty-one countries which have contributed to ISAF and by the Afghan Ambassador to Belgium Humayon Tandar.
The commander of ISAF in 2001, when ISAF troops first deployed, General Sir John McColl and the commander of the mission in August 2003, when ISAF became NATO-led, Lieutenant General Götz Glimeroth also took part in the meeting.