KABUL: US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels on Monday said that there “was a strong consensus in the room, among the leaders, in that meeting, on Afghanistan,” reiterating that the alliance will continue its support to Afghans after the withdrawal of international troops from the country.
“Our troops are coming home, but we agreed that our diplomatic, economic, and humanitarian commitment to the Afghan people and our support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces will endure,” Biden said.
“And I welcomed our Allies and partners to recognize that counterterrorism — that counterterrorism efforts must continue to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for attacks on our countries,” he added.
After the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan ended, NATO officials agreed in the Brussels summit on Monday to keep funding for the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
The RSM will end, but NATO will continue to support Afghanistan in four ways, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, including funding Afghan forces, out-of-country training for Afghan forces, a continued civilian presence, and maintaining “critical infrastructure” such as the Kabul airport.
NATO leaders in a statement during the Brussels summit reaffirmed their commitment to stand with Afghanistan, its people, and its institutions in fostering stability and safeguarding the accomplishments of the previous 20 years.
“Recalling our previous commitments, NATO will continue to provide training and financial support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, including through the Afghan National Army Trust Fund,” the statement said.
NATO will also keep a Senior Civilian Representative’s Office in Kabul to continue diplomatic engagement and strengthen its collaboration with Afghanistan, according to the statement.
The source said, “We will also boost up discussions on Afghanistan with key international and regional partners.”
“We continue to support the continuing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process, and we urge all parties to assist Afghanistan in fostering a long-term, inclusive political settlement that ends bloodshed and protects Afghans’ human rights, especially women, children, and minorities.”