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NATO Will Not Leave Afghanistan Before The “Time Is Right”

NATO Defence Ministers will take the final decision on February 17 or 18 to stay in Afghanistan or leave

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Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani is a senior journalist at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Transcontinental Times.

AFGHANISTAN. Herat: After the United States, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has decided that it does not intend to withdraw troops from Afghanistan “before the time is right”.

In a media conference, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke about extending NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. “Taliban must reduce violence and stop cooperating with the International terrorist groups. Peace process’s a fragile process, there is no guarantee for success, ” he said.

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He also added that the Taliban must do more to meet the terms of a 2020 peace agreement with the US first.

Earlier, the US and foreign forces had promised to remove their remaining troops from Afghanistan. However, after seeing Afghanistan’s situation, they have decided to stay put.

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Meanwhile, On Wednesday and Thursday, the ministers of the 30 NATO member states will hold their highest-level talks, marking the first event after US President Joe Biden took the office. Biden had previously vowed to maintain closer ties with allies after four years of tensions under Donald Trump.

NATO Defence Ministers secure video conferencing

The agenda for the virtual conference will be the fate of the alliance’s 9,600-strong support mission in Afghanistan after Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw troops. On the other hand, he also pressured the Afghanistan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.

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NATO says it will stay in Afghanistan even if other countries leave. “While no ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, we will not leave before the time is right, ” Stoltenberg said.

“We see that there is still a need for the Taliban to do more when it comes to delivering on their commitments … to make sure that they break all ties with international terrorists,” he said.

The US stays in Afghanistan

Just a week after Biden’s administration took the office, it announced to review the US-Taliban February deal. The Pentagon subsequently announced that the Taliban did not fulfill their promises that included reducing attacks and cutting ties with al-Qaeda.

We see unacceptable levels of violence by the Taliban, including against doctors, judges, and journalists,” he said. “Whatever path we now choose, we must ensure Afghanistan is never again a base for terrorism,” Stoltenberg said.

Violence has surged in recent months amid stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.

A study mandated by the US Congress has called for a delay in the pullout, warning it would effectively hand the Taliban a victory.

Taliban warns

The Taliban group has warned NATO ministers not to seek a “continuation of occupation and war”.

In a statement on Sunday, the Taliban has warned of consequences and said that the blame for future incidents will be on those who want to continue violence and continue a foreign presence in Afghanistan.

“Our message to the upcoming NATO ministerial meeting is that the continuation of occupation and war is neither in your interest nor in the interest of your and our people,” the Taliban said.

In recent days, there have been massive hashtags running on Twitter by 17,000 unknown pro-Taliban accounts ordering US troops to leave Afghanistan.


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