21
Thu, Mar

NATO chief: We won’t leave Afghans alone

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New NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday vowed the alliance’s continued support to Afghanistan including financial aid, saying their 12,000 troops would stay on to train and assist Afghan forces post 2014.

Stoltenberg was speaking to reporters in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, at the ISAF zonal headquarters after meeting NATO troops.In his brief chat with reporters, the NATO Secretary General said the residual NATO forces would continue training and advising Afghan forces after the end of combat mission over the next few weeks.He said they would continue assisting Afghanistan in areas of security, peace and investment. Stoltenberg said after meeting President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai he was confident about a continued friendship and enhanced relations between Kabul and Brussels.Stoltenberg, who arrived in Kabul a day earlier on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan in his first since taking office last month, met with President Ahmadzai and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.After the meetings, the NATO chief said they would open a new chapter in relations next year, when the future of Afghanistan would be in Afghan hands. “But our support will continue," Stoltenberg said in a press conference in Kabul.The alliance chief also said that the end date for NATO’s mission in Afghanistan had yet to be decided.For his part, President Ghani said he had accepted an invitation to attend the NATO ministerial meeting in December in Brussels.