NATO to Taliban: ‘We will not allow any terrorists to threaten us’

Greg Nash

NATO’s foreign ministers on Friday issued a warning to the Taliban as the Western military alliance works to ensure the safe evacuation of citizens from member countries as well as Afghan allies, saying that it will “not allow any terrorists to threaten us.” 

The caution came in a statement following the ministers’ meeting Friday on the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, where U.S., NATO and other allied forces are attempting to get thousands of people out of Afghanistan each day following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Kabul. 

“For the last twenty years, we have successfully denied terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan from which to instigate attacks,” the foreign ministers said. “We will not allow any terrorists to threaten us.” 

They went on to say that NATO remains “committed to fighting terrorism with determination, resolve, and in solidarity.” 

The group said that NATO had “suspended all support to the Afghan authorities,” adding that “any future Afghan government must adhere to Afghanistan’s international obligations; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered humanitarian access; and ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.” 

Fears have grown in recent days that the first Taliban government since 2001, when the U.S. toppled the group in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, will pose significant threats to the lives and safety of Afghan civilians, especially women and girls, due to the insurgent group’s extreme interpretation of Islamic law. 

However, The New York Times reported Thursday that the Taliban are ramping up their search for Afghans who assisted U.S. and British forces and are threatening to kill or arrest their family members. 

Taliban militants have also violently clamped down on protests in recent days, and called on Muslim worship leaders to persuade citizens not to leave Afghanistan.

The NATO foreign ministers said Friday that its “immediate task now is to meet our commitments to continue the safe evacuation of our citizens, partner country nationals, and at-risk Afghans, in particular those who have assisted our efforts.” 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said in a virtual press conference Friday that “continuing evacuation of people from allied and partner countries and Afghans who worked with us” was a top priority. 

A NATO official told Reuters on Friday that more than 18,000 people had been flown out of Kabul since last weekend, with the Biden administration saying that it had successfully evacuated 7,000 people. 

However, the surge in Afghan civilians desperately attempting to flee the country has put significant strain on security forces, leading the U.S. military to pause evacuation flights out of Kabul Friday.

Tags Afghanistan collapse Afghanistan evacuations biden administration Kabul NATO Reuters Taliban takeover

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