NATO remains committed to supporting the Afghan security forces in their fight against terrorism, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a phone conversation with President Ghani late yesterday, Friday, February 19.
This comes a day after Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter that they had not made a “final decision” in the NATO’s Defense Ministers meeting on their military presence in Afghanistan. “We have not taken a final decision on our future presence, but as the 1 May deadline is approaching, we will continue to consult and coordinate together as an alliance,” he said in a tweet posted on February 18.
NATO member states are sharing consultations regarding the withdrawal of NATO and US forces from Afghanistan and the US is currently reviewing its deal with the Taliban, said a statement issued by the Afghan presidential palace.
#NATO Defence Ministers discussed #Afghanistan. We are facing many dilemmas & there are no easy options. We have not taken a final decision on our future presence, but as the 1 May deadline is approaching, we will continue to consult & coordinate together as an Alliance. pic.twitter.com/USwFtAnosc
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) February 18, 2021
Earlier Mr. Stoltenberg had also asserted that NATO forces would not withdraw from Afghanistan until the time was right.
Addressing NATO Allies at the final day of the NATO Defense Minister’s meeting, on February 18, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin assured that the US would not undertake a “hasty or disorderly withdrawal” from Afghanistan.
Moreover, the US defense secretary reiterated on US commitment to a diplomatic effort to end the war in Afghanistan.
A total of 9,592 NATO troops, including 2,500 US forces, are currently stationed in Afghanistan under the US-led Resolute Support mission.
The mission is currently focused on providing advice and training for Afghan security forces.