Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the extraordinary meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs

  • 20 Aug. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 20 Aug. 2021 15:32

(As delivered)

Extraordinary meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the situation in Afghanistan. NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană  and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Ministers, dear friends and colleagues,


Good afternoon and good morning.


Welcome to this extraordinary session of NATO Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan.


What is happening in Afghanistan is a tragedy for the Afghan people. The situation remains difficult and unpredictable.


NATO’s top priority right now is to get people out and continue our operations at Kabul airport.


The establishment of security at the airport has been critical and I’d like to thank Turkey, the United States, and the United Kingdom for their efforts. Hundreds of NATO staff and contractors have also been playing a vital role.


They kept Kabul airport operational, including air traffic control, essential airport services, and communications.


The main challenge we face, however, is ensuring that people can reach and enter Kabul airport. 


We expect the Taliban to allow safe passage of all foreign nationals and Afghans seeking to depart the country.


This is the most urgent task today. But we will also discuss the medium and longer term challenges in Afghanistan.