(MENAFN- Daily Outlook Afghanistan)NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said late Monday that ''there is no doubt that Afghanistan faces serious challenges,” but that he strongly believes Afghans have to take full responsibility for their own future.
Addressing a press conference in Brussels ahead of Tuesday’s virtual NATO foreign and Defense Ministers meeting, Stoltenberg said the only way to lasting peace in Afghanistan is for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.
He said Afghans are now responsible for the security in their own country ''and at some stage the Afghans have to take full responsibility, responsibility for their own future.”
''And as we end our military presence in Afghanistan, we will continue to provide support to the country with our civilian presence, helping with capacity building, with funding for the Afghan security forces, with helping to maintain some critical infrastructure including the airport, and then out-of-country training.
On Tuesday’s meeting he said NATO ministers will discuss a range of issues regarding Afghanistan, including the way forward.
On the decision to withdraw troops he said: ''The security situation in Afghanistan remains very difficult and challenging,” but stated ''I think we have to understand that the intention was never to stay in Afghanistan forever.”
He said however that as NATO ends its military mission, it is 'stepping up our support to Afghanistan in other ways.”
He said the civilian presence will be maintained in Afghanistan to provide advice and capacity building to the Afghan security institutions and that NATO will help fund the Afghan Security Forces.
''We are planning to provide out-of-country training for the Afghan Security Forces. And we are also now working on how we can sustain critical infrastructure. For instance, the airport provides support to the running of the airport and other critical infrastructure, which is important for the continued presence of the international community in Afghanistan,” he said.
He said: ''We have been there for twenty years and we will continue to provide support but no longer through a military presence in Afghanistan.” (ATN)
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