On December 3, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg admitted that the military bloc is not going to withdraw from Afghanistan in any scenario.
“The challenge in Afghanistan is great.
And Allies have suffered fatalities in recent months. As have Afghan forces and civilians.
We must continue to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists. Over the past months, we have stepped up our support – with more forces and funding, Because the cost of leaving is bigger than the cost of staying,” Stoltenberg said during a press briefing at a pre-ministerial meeting in NATO headquarters.
He once again repeated that NATO has to keep its military presence in the war-torn country in order to defend NATO states from terrorist attacks planned inside Afghanistan.
“It’s important for NATO to keep its presence in Afghanistan because we have to prevent Afghanistan from, once again, becoming a platform to plan, organise, to execute terrorist attacks against our own countries. It cannot once again become a safe haven for international terrorists. There is a high cost of staying in Afghanistan – there’s a high financial cost for NATO Allies and there is a high human cost – we have had fatalities. Also, last week’s. But, we have to compare the cost of staying with the cost of leaving and if NATO and NATO Allies left Afghanistan we have to be prepared that there is a high risk that Taliban will come back and that different terrorist organisations will be able to gain ground and establish strong footholds in Afghanistan.
For instance, we know that Al Qaeda is there, we know that ISIS is there, and we know that ISIS is working with the core ISIS in Levant, and also they have networks stretching into Europe. So, this is about helping Afghanistan but it’s also about helping ourselves. It’s about making our citizens more secure by avoiding that ISIS, Al Qaeda or the terrorist organisations are able to really re-establish themselves in Afghanistan. We have to remember that we have been fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria for years and we have made a lot of progress. But we have to be sure that the Caliphate ISIS lost in Iraq and in Syria is not re-established in Afghanistan. And that’s one of the reasons why we are there, and I visited Afghanistan recently and I’m impressed by the commitment, the courage and the professionalism of the Afghan forces and we continue to train, assist and advise them.” he said answering to a question from Radio Free Europe.
Thus, while the US is allegedly seeking to support a peace deal between the Kabul government and the Taliban, NATO is openly declaring that any kind of the peace will not lead to NATO/US troops withdrawal from the country.