NATO working with allies on ‘securing’ Kabul airport

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said late Friday the organization is working with its Allies on how to maintain important infrastructure in Afghanistan including the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

Speaking at a press briefing ahead of next week’s summit to be attended by NATO leaders, Stoltenberg said the attending leaders will address a wide ranging set of issues including Afghanistan.

“Our military presence is ending, but our support for the Afghan forces and people will continue.

“At our Summit on Monday, we will have far-ranging discussions, and take substantial decisions,” he said.
“We are very clear-eyed about the challenges, the difficulties we all face in Afghanistan. And we are also clear-eyed about the risks the decision to end our military mission entails.

“We will, we’re also working on, with the NATO Allies, how to maintain important infrastructure, such as an international airport in Kabul. Partly this is something NATO will support, and also we’re looking into how NATO Allies can be part of that effort.”

He said Turkey is a key ally when it comes to the running of the airport. “There is a dialogue now going on between different Allies, including Turkey, on exactly how we can try to continue to provide support for the airport and make sure the airport continues to operate at international standards.

“Because this is important not only for NATO, but an airport and all the critical infrastructure is important for the whole international community, for the diplomatic presence of all countries, and of course also for development aid and different aid organizations.

“So NATO Allies are addressing these issues as we speak. And I expect this also to be an issue that will be addressed at the Summit on Monday.