Afghanistan neighbours should not give safe heavens to terrorists: NATO Chief

Afghanistan neighbours should not give safe heavens to terrorists: NATO Chief

KABUL - NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg says several NATO allies are concerned about safe havens for terrorist organizations in Pakistan.

In an interview with TOLOnews, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who paid an unannounced visit to Kabul with US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday, said the neighboring countries – of Afghanistan – should not provide sanctuaries to terrorist organizations.  

“I have seen that several allies are concerned about sanctuaries for terrorists in Pakistan and neighbors should not host terrorist organizations; they should not provide sanctuaries,” he said. 

He said the Taliban will never win on the battlefields and that “the main purpose of NATO’s support to Afghan forces and the Afghan government is to reach a political solution – for instability in Afghanistan.  

“The Taliban; they have to understand that they will never win on the battlefield. We are ready to stay for a long whole but they will be able to reach a good political solution around the negotiating table,” he said. 

The NATO chief said the new US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia has the support of many allies of the organization.

“There is broad support among allies for the new (US) strategy because we have all decided to increase the troop levels; not to go back to combat operations but to do more train, assist and advice for the Afghan security forces,” he added. 

He said they have started focusing on three areas: more training of special operation forces, more help to develop the Afghan Air Force and also more help to build schools and education to improve command and control.

Stoltenberg said he has met with Afghan security force and that he has seen ‘improvement and courage’ in them. 

“Now we have a strong army and security forces of 350,000 personnel, committed, professional that show courage every day in repelling attacks from Taliban and others,” he added.

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