Stoltenberg says peace talks remain fragile and violence unacceptably high

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on the eve of the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday that the alliance will “closely consult” on the way forward in Afghanistan.

“NATO has significantly adjusted our presence as part of the peace process. However, peace talks remain fragile and the level of violence remains unacceptably high, including the Taliban attacks on civilians,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg also said the Taliban must reduce violence, negotiate in good faith and live up to their commitment to stop cooperating with international terrorist groups.

Speaking at a press conference Stoltenberg said that all allies support the Afghan peace process.

“No ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, but the threat of terrorism must be considered,” Stoltenberg added.

Stoltenberg emphasized that NATO strongly supports the Afghan peace process in Afghanistan.

“This is the best chance for a lasting political solution,” he added.

He also said that NATO’s top priority is that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for terrorists.

“We also realize that one of the best weapons we have in the fight against terrorism is to train local forces,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

“Our common goal is clear. Afghanistan should never again serve as a haven for terrorists to attack our homelands. So our presence is conditions-based. While no ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, we will not leave before the time is right,” he added.