Secretary General in Kabul stresses NATO commitment to Afghanistan, encourages further reforms
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed the Alliance’s strong and enduring commitment to Afghanistan in talks with Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Tuesday (15 March 2016).
Speaking alongside President Ghani, the Secretary General commended the courage and determination of the Afghan security forces in the fight against terrorism. He noted their progress in confronting the insurgents, and denying them lasting gains. He also welcomed that the Afghan forces are acquiring new capabilities, and stepping up their air operations. “In 2015 the Afghan Air Force flew more than 20,000 missions – more than twice as many as the year before,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
The Secretary General stressed that “Afghan forces do not stand alone,” and highlighted that NATO Allies and partners have been working side-by-side with Afghanistan for over a decade. “Today, NATO continues to support the Afghan forces with training, advice and assistance through the Resolute Support mission. And we continue to provide financial support to the Afghan forces. So that the Afghan forces can become sustainable in the long-term, protecting the Afghan people and suppressing terrorism,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He added that NATO remains committed to support Afghanistan in the long-term, through political partnership and practical support.
The Secretary General, President Ghani, and Chief Executive Abdullah discussed the security situation in Afghanistan and reviewed the government’s reforms. Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed the work of the National Unity Government and encouraged further progress. He stressed that Afghanistan’s long-term success requires strong security institutions, stable leadership positions and effective mechanisms to root out corruption. “It means stepping up Afghan investment in the security forces. And it also means ensuring that human rights, including for women and children, are fully respected,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
Separately, the Secretary General met with General John Nicholson, the new Commander of the Resolute Support mission, and Ambassador Ismail Aramaz, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan.