NATO training mission for Afghan security forces to move forward after US withdrawal


NATO leaders on Monday committed to moving forward with training for Afghan security forces after the U.S. military withdraws all its troops from Afghanistan, which President Biden says will be completed before Sept. 11.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in remarks following a meeting of the alliance in Brussels, said the coalition’s leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to continue to stand with Afghanistan with training and financial support for Afghan forces and institutions.”

Stoltenberg’s announcement puts an end to lingering questions regarding what will happen to the training mission once U.S. forces pull out from the country by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The alliance also addressed Afghanistan in its Brussels Summit Communiqué, writing that the group will “open a new chapter” in its relationship with Afghanistan.

“Withdrawing our troops does not mean ending our relationship with Afghanistan. We will now open a new chapter. We affirm our commitment to continue to stand with Afghanistan, its people, and its institutions in promoting security and upholding the hard-won gains of the last 20 years,” the NATO leaders wrote.

They added that the alliance 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 alliance also said it will keep a senior civilian representative’s office in Kabul to “continue diplomatic engagement and enhance our partnership with Afghanistan.”

The group reaffirmed its support for the “ongoing Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process” and called on all individuals involved to “help Afghanistan foster a last inclusive political settlement” that ends violence and protects the human rights of Afghans, especially women, children and minorities.

The coalition also said such a settlement should maintain the rule of law and ensure “that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.”

A NATO spokesperson, following Stoltenberg’s remarks, told Politico that the training of Afghan security forces, especially special forces, will occur at an undetermined location outside Afghanistan.

Training and advice for civilian institutions, including the Afghan ministries of defense and interior, will transpire in Afghanistan and be spearheaded by NATO’s civilian office in Kabul, according to Politico.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley last week said that “it’s possible” when asked if the U.S. military is considering continuing to train Afghan forces in different countries once U.S. forces leave.

Stoltenberg’s announcement on Monday follows remarks he made at the Atlantic Council last week, when he said NATO leaders were “looking into” how to continue to provide training to Afghan forces, Politico noted.

Biden in April announced that all U.S. troops will be pulled from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.

Biden met with NATO leaders in Brussels on Monday as part of his first foreign trip as president.

Tags Afghan Armed Forces afghan war afghan withdrawal Afghanistan Afghanistan conflict Jens Stoltenberg Joe Biden Mark Milley NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization War in Afghanistan

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