NATO Secretary General's statement on a new chapter in Afghanistan
At the end of this year, we complete our combat mission in Afghanistan and open a new chapter in our relationship with Afghanistan.
The security of Afghanistan will be fully in the hands of the country’s 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police. But NATO Allies, together with many partner nations, will remain to train, advise and assist them. This is what NATO and Afghan leaders agreed together. It has been made possible by the courage and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces, and by the dedication of the international forces who helped train them over the past years.
Many challenges remain, and there is much work still to do. The Afghan security forces will continue to need our help as they develop.
Our new mission, “Resolute Support,” will bring together around 12,000 men and women from NATO Allies and 14 partner nations. The mission is based on a request from the Afghan government and the Status of Forces Agreement between NATO and Afghanistan. The United Nations Security Council unanimously welcomed the agreement between Afghanistan and NATO to establish the mission and stressed the importance of continued international support for the stability of Afghanistan.
We will also contribute to the financing of the Afghan security forces, and build an Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan which reflects our joint interests, shapes our joint cooperation and contributes to our shared security.
For over a decade, NATO and our partners have stood with Afghanistan. 51 nations have contributed forces to our effort – over a quarter of the countries of the world. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been the largest military coalition in recent history and represents an unprecedented international effort. The mandate of the United Nations Security Council was to help the Afghan authorities provide security across the country and develop new Afghan forces.
This mandate was carried out at great cost, but with great success. We will always remember the sacrifice of international and Afghan forces, who deserve our respect and our gratitude.
Thanks to the remarkable effort of our forces, we have achieved what we set out to do. We have made our own nations safer, by denying safe haven to international terrorists. We have made Afghanistan stronger, by building up from scratch strong security forces. Together, we have created the conditions for a better future for millions of Afghan men, women and children.