NATO will continue its Afghanistan mission despite US drawdown: Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg assured Afghan President Ashraf Ghani late Wednesday night in a telephone conversation that NATO will not withdraw prematurely from Afghanistan and it would continue to help train, advise and assist the Afghan government fight terrorism.

In a tweet posted by the Presidential Palace, ARG stated: “The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, and the Secretary-General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, spoke by telephone tonight.

“The telephone conversation focused on NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and the peace process.

“Jens Stoltenberg said that even with the reduction of US forces in Afghanistan, we will continue to train, advise and assist the Afghan security and defense forces in the fight against international terrorism,” ARG stated.

This comes after US acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller confirmed the Pentagon will reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by January 15 — five days before president-elect Joe Biden is expected to take the oath of office.

America currently has 4,500 troops in Afghanistan while NATO has just under 12,000 troops.

Stoltenberg also tweeted late Wednesday night and said he had discussed NATO’s ongoing mission with Ghani.

“We support the Afghanistan peace process and as part of it we’ll continue to adjust our presence,” Stoltenberg said.

“Even with the US reduction, NATO will continue to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces in their fight against international terrorism,” he said.