KABUL: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the security situation in Afghanistan was “extremely complex and demanding’, stressing that Afghans should take full responsibility for their own future when US and coalition forces leave the country.
Pentagon officials have earlier said that the withdrawal of US forces completed up to 25%. US President Joe Biden announced in April that he will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, but officials in Washington have said that the pullout might be completed earlier than the given deadline.
Jens Stoltenberg talking to a press conference in Brussels on Monday said, “So therefore, we made the decision to end our mission within weeks. I think we have to understand that the intention was never to stay in Afghanistan forever.”
He stated that in recent years, NATO’s presence in Afghanistan has steadily decreased from more than 100,000 to approximately 10,000 and will go down to zero.
“But as we end our military mission, we are stepping up our support to Afghanistan in other ways. First of all, we will maintain our civilian presence in Afghanistan to provide advice and capacity building to the Afghan security institutions,” Stoltenberg said.
He said that NATO will provide financial assistance to the Afghan military and ‘ensure that the Afghan Security Forces are allocated considerable amounts of funds.’
Moreover, Stoltenberg said that Afghan forces are now responsible for the security in their own country.
“At some stage, the Afghans have to take full responsibility, responsibility for their own future,” he said. “And I’m amazed by the strength, courage, and the dangers and challenges of the Afghan security forces, but also precisely why we are still supporting them,’ he concluded.