ISAF flag returns to NATO Headquarters from Kabul, as NATO commitment to Afghanistan endures
The flag of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission has been brought back from Kabul (Afghanistan) to NATO headquarters in Brussels (Belgium), on Thursday (15 January 2015).
“A flag is far more than a piece of cloth. It is a symbol. A nation’s flag is a symbol of unity, of history, of the sacrifices made by its people; and of the values for which it stands. And for the military, the flag is a symbol of pride,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a ceremony held today at NATO Headquarters. “For over a decade, NATO Allies and partner nations from across the world have served under the ISAF flag. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan in the largest operation in the history of the Alliance. This flag is the symbol of that mission. Of what we achieved. And of the hard work and the sacrifices. It will be displayed here, inside our headquarters, visible to all , as a lasting memory and a enduring symbol of our ISAF mission in Afghanistan,” the Secretary General added.
The ISAF mission was completed at the end of 2014, when the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) assumed full security responsibility throughout Afghanistan. The relationship between NATO and Afghanistan is evolving and the scope of NATO’s support to Afghanistan has changed. A new, NATO-led mission (called Resolute Support) to train, advise and assist the ANDSF was launched on 1 January 2015. Also, NATO Allies and partners are contributing to the financing of the ANDSF and are deepening their political dialogue and practical cooperation with Afghanistan, within the framework of the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership.