Tue, Jun

NATO reaffirms support to Afghanistan


NATO-Wales-1NATO leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Afghanistan. The ‎pledge was renewed at the NATO Summit, held earlier this month in Wales, the ‎United Kingdom. The gathering brought together leaders from 60 countries, including ‎the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the British Prime Minister ‎David Cameron.‎

Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, representing Afghanistan at ‎the summit, told reporters that the international community had increased by one ‎billion dollars from $4.1 billion to $5.1 billion in annual aid to Afghanistan.‎
Leaders from NATO nations, joined by ISAF partner countries, reaffirmed their ‎readiness to launch a non-combat mission in Afghanistan after 2014 to help train, ‎advise and assist Afghan security forces, provided necessary legal arrangements are ‎made in time.‎
The post-2014 Resolute Support Mission is one of the three pillars of NATO’s long-‎term engagement in Afghanistan, along with a contribution to the long-term ‎sustainment of the Afghan National Army and the strengthening of long-term political ‎and practical cooperation with Afghanistan.‎
‎“With the end of ISAF in December, we will change the nature and the scope of our ‎involvement in Afghanistan,” the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, ‎said. “But our commitment will endure because stability in Afghanistan also means ‎security for us.” This three-pronged engagement is aimed to build on the gains ‎achieved throughout the thirteen-year long ISAF mission, particularly in the ‎development of strong, professional and capable security forces, as well as in the ‎fields of education, health, economic development, human rights and fundamental ‎freedoms, notably for women.‎
During the meeting, ISAF leaders underlined the importance of continued support by ‎the international community, and of sustained efforts by the Afghan government, ‎notably in continuing to increase its financial accountability and contribution, ‎improved governance and the rule of law, promote and protect human rights for all.‎
In a joint declaration, NATO leader praised the role of Afghan forces in providing ‎security to Afghans. “The Afghan forces had been in the lead for combat operations ‎throughout the country. Although many challenges remain, they have demonstrated ‎that they are an effective force, gaining the respect and confidence of the Afghan ‎people and able to prevent insurgents from achieving their objectives,” the statement ‎said.‎NATO-wales-2
The declaration said: “When ISAF operations end, the Afghan authorities will assume ‎full responsibility for security. However, our commitment to Afghanistan will endure ‎beyond ISAF along with our determination to ensure that we are never again ‎threatened by terrorists from within Afghanistan.”‎
The leaders also vowed to continue to support an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and ‎inclusive peace process, as stated at the 2011 Bonn Conference and at the Chicago ‎Summit in 2012. “We welcome efforts by all parties that further this process.”‎
They stressed good neighbourly relations, as well as regional support and cooperation ‎as essential. “This has been strengthened notably by the Istanbul Process in the Heart ‎of Asia region.”‎
They said a stable Afghanistan would be able to make a positive contribution to the ‎wider region including through delivering progress in the fight against narcotics ‎trafficking, illegal migration, terrorism and crime.‎
The NATO leaders emphasised the particular importance of strengthening efforts to ‎implement the rights of women and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions ‎on Women, Peace and Security, and to fully include women in political, peace and ‎reconciliation processes.‎