NATO says allies will leave Afghanistan together

NATO said Thursday that its members would consult and decide on when to leave Afghanistan after US President Donald Trump asserted to bring all American forces home by Christmas.

Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, said on Twitter Wednesday: “We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!”

Addressing a joint press conference with President of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “We decided to go into Afghanistan together, we will make decisions on future adjustments together, and when the time is right, we will leave together.”

Stoltenberg stated that NATO’s decisions would be based on the conditions on the ground.

“Because we think it is extremely important to continue to be committed to the future of Afghanistan because it is in our interest to preserve the long-term security of Afghanistan,” he noted.

Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO is in Afghanistan to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.

“Hundreds of thousands of soldiers from Europe, from Canada have served shoulder-to-shoulder with US soldiers in Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from once again controlling that country.”

“And we are committed to our mission in Afghanistan because it is in our security interest to make sure that Afghanistan does not once again become a platform where terrorists can plan, organize and conduct terrorist attacks on our own countries,” NATO Chief added.

Stoltenberg one again reiterated NATO’s support for the Afghan peace process.

“And as part of the peace effort, we have reduced our presence in Afghanistan. Not so long ago we had more than a hundred thousand troops in the big combat operation. And now we have roughly 12,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, and they support, they train, assist and advise the African security forces.”

This comes the US-brokered peace talks have been stalled about a week ago after the Afghan government and the Taliban delegations failed to reach an agreement over two sticking points.

According to the reports, the Taliban demand recognition of the US-Taliban deal as the base of the negotiations and Hanafi jurisprudence as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks.