Joint press conference

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai

  • 15 Mar. 2016 -
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  • Mis à jour le: 15 Mar. 2016 15:06

(As delivered)

Thank you for once again welcoming me and my delegation here in Kabul and thank you also for your tireless efforts to promote the close partnership and cooperation between NATO and Afghanistan.

And I would also like to thank you for our personal friendship and the way we have been working together over many years.

We have just finished very excellent talks addressing the challenges we face together.

And I also met with Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah, and other senior government officials and I would also like to thank them  for excellent talks earlier today.

Together, we assessed the security situation, reviewed the government’s reform efforts, and discussed NATO’s continuing support to Afghanistan.

2015 was as you said a difficult and tough year for the Afghan forces.

But despite significant challenges, they took full charge of security across the country.

Showing great courage and determination.

The Afghan forces are standing strong to protect the people of this country.

They are improving their capabilities.

They are stepping up air operations, including with new aircraft.

To give just one example, in 2015 the Afghan Air Force flew more than 20,000 missions – more than twice as many as the year before. This is just one example of how the Afghan forces are making progress.

But the Afghan forces do not stand alone.

NATO and our partners have been working side-by-side with them for over a decade.

At a great cost, we have made great progress together in the fight against terrorism.

We owe our deep gratitude to the brave men and women of our armed forces.

And we pay tribute to all those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

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.

So our commitment to Afghanistan is strong and enduring. And we are working closely together.

I am encouraged by the work of the National Unity Government.

But, as the President and I discussed, Afghanistan’s long-term success requires further reforms.

This means stronger 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.

The peace process is another key element in securing the country for the longer term.

I welcome recent signs of progress.

President Ghani, I thank you and Chief Executive Abdullah for your leadership.

Today, I invited you both to attend NATO’s Warsaw Summit in July.

And I am honoured that you both accepted my invitation.
This will be an opportunity to review our joint efforts, and to deepen the relationship between NATO and Afghanistan even more.

President Ghani, I look forward to working with you in the months and the years ahead. 

As you work to build a safer country, you have a strong friend and a strong partner in NATO.

Thank you.