The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance is firmly committed to its Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
Stoltenberg was speaking during a pre-ministerial press conference ahead of the two-day NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.
In response to a question regarding the US concerns about the level of troops in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg, said “We are firmly committed to our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the heads of state and government made last year a decision to continue our military presence in Afghanistan, to continue to provide funding for the Afghan National Army and Security Forces and to develop the political partnership with Afghanistan.”
Stoltenberg further added “And thanks to this support from NATO and NATO partners over a long period of years we have been able to build up a national army and security force which is now responsible for security in Afghanistan themselves.”
He said “And I think if there’s any lesson learned from Afghanistan we should perhaps have started even earlier to train the Afghans enabling them to take over responsibility for the security of Afghanistan themselves. We have ended the combat mission, what we … what NATO is doing is to train, assist and advise and I for instance met with some pilots in the Afghan Air Force and it was great to see them being trained by NATO trainers enabling them to develop their own air force.”
Admitting that the alliance has some shortfalls in their Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg, said “General Nicholson has pointed at some of them and we will constantly address and follow the situation closely and I discuss this regularly with General Nicholson and this spring we will begin to discuss the future of Resolute Support Mission based on a review and assessment of the mission, the challenges and the need for NATO forces in Afghanistan.”