NATO expands its role in Afghanistan
NATO Heads of State and Government, meeting today at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit, agreed to a number of new initiatives for Afghanistan, including a significant expansion of the training and support effort for Afghan National Security Forces, enhanced engagement with neighbouring countries and a more integrated approach to working with the International Community and the Afghan Government to implement the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS).
NATO leaders reaffirmed their strategic vision for Afghanistan based on four guiding principles: long-term commitment; Afghan leadership; a fully comprehensive and a regional approach. These principles remain the foundation of the Alliance’s political-military plan, updated and approved by Allies at the Summit.
To demonstrate this commitment, Allies offered significant additional military forces for election support, for training and mentoring of the Afghan security forces. Many Allies also offered substantial increases in civilian aid for a variety of purposes.
Allies decided to establish a NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A) to deliver higher-level training to the Afghan National Army (ANA), and a significant increase of training and mentoring for the Afghan National Police (ANP). The NATO Heads of State and Government also supported the expansion of the ANA Trust Fund to include sustainment funds that will help the ANA to continue to grow in size and effectiveness.
NATO Allies recognised the importance of balancing military and civilian efforts and welcomed the renewal of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). NATO supports the Government-led integrated approach to deliver across the security, governance and development lines of effort in the Afghan National Development Strategy. Allies commited to support the August 20th presidential and provincial elections and undertook to support Afghan Government and UN efforts to ensure the elections are conducted safely and effectively.
Allies recognised the need to balance civilian and military efforts to encourage economic development and stability in line with Afghan Government priorities and stressed the importance of the protection of women’s rights.
Enhancing Afghan Government leadership, including at the provincial and district levels, is needed to speed the delivery of justice, basic services and employment opportunities, especially in the agricultural sector. The NATO leaders recognized that to do this work will require a greater civilian component to the forces being sent to Afghanistan.
Finally, Heads of State and Government agree that NATO, as a member of the broader International Community, will support Afghan-led efforts to reconcile with those who renounce violence, accept the Constitution, and have no links to Al-Qaeda. NATO stands ready to join all law abiding Afghans in building a better future for Afghanistan.