Arg—President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, met today before addressing a press conference. President Ghani thanked NATO for reinforcing Afghan Air Force (AAF) and Commandos Corps, while Mr. Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s pledge to continue their support for Afghanistan.
President Ghani said that ANDSF is leading the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, and Afghans are owning the challenge.
“Today I assure you [NATO nations] that your children are not engaged in any combat mission, nor they will in the future. Our brave soldiers are leading the fight,” said the President.
President Ghani also said that presidential elections will be staged on its time, and ANDSF is fully prepared to defy any threat posed to elections.
Mr. Stoltenberg congratulated Afghans for their widespread participation “in the face of Taliban threats”, and praised reforms in ANDSF and said that he was impressed with a newly well-equipped AAF. He said that ANDSF’s performance in successfully provided security to elections [Wolesi Jirga] was laudable. Further, he reaffirmed that NATO troops are going to support Afghanistan so far as the threat exists, and NATO nations will increase their efforts to strengthen ANDSF, especially AAF.
He added that NATO will not cease support to Afghanistan, and is going to sustain its presence until the conditions on the ground change.
“The Taliban must understand that continuing the fight is pointless and counter-productive. To be part of Afghanistan’s future, they must sit down at the negotiating table,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.