Thu, Oct

Afghan Foreign Minister Welcomes NATO's Commitment


salahuddin-rabaniForeign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has welcomed NATO's commitment to work towards securing funding for Afghanistan's security forces through to 2020.

"We have agreed that we should work to secure the necessary pledges until the end of 2020 for the financial sustainment of Afghanistan's national defense and security forces," Rabbani said at a press conference after the meeting.

He said that "we also discussed the need to develop, strengthen and enhance the NATO-Afghan enduring partnership agreement."

"On the issue of the troops and how much funding we need beyond 2020, of course currently, as you know, that $4.1 billion US dollars is required and that will continue until 2020. And after that, of course, Afghanistan has also its part to play, has to make some contributions of about $500 million US dollars every year," he added.

This comes while the NATO also announced that the alliance will keep about 12,000 troops in Afghanistan through next year and confirmed the commitments - roughly 7,000 US troops and 5,000 from NATO member states and partners.

On Tuesday, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference that after 2016 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission will focus only on training and mentoring in Afghanistan and those bases will be located in only four provinces in the country.

The two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers began on Tuesday in Brussels at the organization's headquarters.

NATO Secretary-General said on the sidelines of the meeting that Afghanistan is an important country for NATO, which will not allow the country to become a safe haven for terrorists as Afghanistan's insecurity was in turn a big threat to the security of NATO countries.

"We are in Afghanistan to prevent that Afghanistan again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists. It is also in our security interests to make sure that doesn't happen. So we are in Afghanistan of course to support Afghans but we are in Afghanistan also to support ourselves because if Afghanistan becomes a safe haven for international terrorists that will also be a threat to us," he said.

Stoltenberg said he supported the peace process by the Afghan government and asked the neighboring countries to help with the process.

Meanwhile, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking at the NATO summit, said he supports the extension of the "Resolute Support" training mission in Afghanistan, and that Montenegro should be encouraged by upcoming discussions on its possible membership of the bloc.

"The security situation is still difficult and that is why today I recommended that we extend the training and advice mission "Resolute Support" which should have come to an end, and that Germany will continue to play its leading role in the north of Afghanistan," he said.

Fourteen years after the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan, NATO members have doubts about the ability of its army and police to defend itself against Taliban fighters, who briefly took over the northern city of Kunduz in September.