NATO Defence Ministers discuss progress in Afghanistan
NATO Defence Ministers today (8 June 2018) concluded a two-day meeting in Brussels with a discussion of the Alliance’s training mission in Afghanistan, and its continuing support to the Afghan government and Afghan security forces.
Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said that “NATO Allies and partners aren’t just maintaining their contributions to our Resolute Support Mission, they are increasing them.” He also noted the “real progress” in the ability of Afghan forces “to conduct offensive operations”, and expressed his confidence that NATO leaders will agree to extend funding to the Afghan Security Forces to 2024 when they meet at the Alliance’s Summit next month.
“Our aim is to strengthen the Afghan security forces so they can create the conditions for a peaceful solution”, the Secretary General said. He also praised President Ghani’s recent offer of peace talks with the Taliban, stressing that “an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is essential to a long-term, inclusive political settlement.”
During their two-day meeting Ministers also took decisions to strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence, discussed means of enhancing efforts to project stability and fight terrorism, and explored ways of further boosting cooperation with the European Union. It was the last meeting of NATO Ministers before the Summit in Brussels on 11-12 July.