NATO’s Afghanistan withdrawal depends on violence levels, says Stoltenberg
Alliance chief stressed that the Taliban must do more to fulfill the terms of the peace agreement with the United States
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that Taliban fighters in Afghanistan must do more to fulfill the terms of the 2020 peace agreement with the United States so that the withdrawal of foreign troops can begin by the deadline.
Later this week, NATO defense ministers will discuss whether the Taliban are implementing a peace deal that gave militants security guarantees in exchange for a withdrawal of foreign troops by May 1..
“We see that the Taliban still need to work harder to meet commitments … to ensure they sever all ties with international terrorists,” Stoltenberg said..
Attacks in Afghanistan, including the December bombing that killed the deputy governor of Kabul province, prompted members of the U.S. Congress and international human rights groups to call for a delay in the withdrawal agreed under former President Donald Trump.
Currently, 9,600 NATO troops are stationed in Afghanistan, including 2,500 US troops, who are training and assisting Afghan security forces..
Many fear that after the withdrawal of troops, the progress made in two decades of foreign intervention in Afghanistan will quickly erode, jeopardizing gains in many areas, from women’s rights to democracy. US lawmakers warn that withdrawal of all forces could lead to civil war.
The upcoming meeting of defense ministers, to be held via videoconference on Wednesday and Thursday, was initially convened to decide on the appropriateness
further withdrawal of troops. New US President Joe Biden’s Administration Calls For A Six-Month Extension.
Four senior NATO officials told Reuters on January 31 that international troops will remain in the country beyond the deadline, despite Taliban calls for a complete withdrawal..
“Our common goal is clear: Afghanistan must never again become a haven for terrorists attacking our countries,” Stoltenberg said. “While none of the alliance members want to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, we will not leave before the moment is right.”.
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