Foreign Ministers agree to sustain NATO’s presence in Afghanistan, launch funding for Afghan forces
NATO Foreign Ministers today (1 December 2015) agreed a plan to sustain the NATO training mission in Afghanistan during 2016 and started work to secure funding for Afghan national security forces until the end of 2020.
“We agreed to sustain the presence of our Resolute Support Mission, including in the regions of Afghanistan, during 2016”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after the meeting. “This will be approximately 12,000 troops.” He added that NATO will continue to keep the mission under review and adjustments would be made as necessary.
As part of the current training mission, NATO troops operate from several bases, including in Kabul as well as in Bagram, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, Kandahar and Jalalabad. The alliance’s mission in Afghanistan is strictly an advisory and training commitment. A return to a combat mission was not discussed.
At the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, Allied donors agreed to fund the Afghan national security forces until 2017. Today’s talks also marked the beginning of efforts to secure international funding for Afghan forces to the end of 2020. “The decision we made today was to agree to launch further work with the international community to make sure that the Afghan forces continue to be funded”, Secretary General Stoltenberg said, adding that Allies will aim for concrete progress on commitments by the time of the NATO Warsaw Summit next July.
Looking to the future, ministers also agreed to further develop the Alliance’s Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan, which centres on the establishment of a civilian-led presence that will follow the Resolute Support Mission. Foreign Minister Rabbani reaffirmed the Afghan Government’s commitment to reform, which was warmly welcomed by Allies.