North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will not leave Afghanistan before 'time is right'

Marco Green
February 16, 2021

USA lawmakers have warned that withdrawing all troops could lead to civil war.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is weighing up whether to withdraw the roughly 10,000 troops from the region and will meet this week to make a final decision.

The self-described Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organisation said in a statement: "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".

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Monday for Taliban militants in Afghanistan to do more to meet the terms of a 2020 peace agreement to allow for any possible foreign troop withdrawal by a May deadline.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has 9,600 troops in Afghanistan, including 2,500 Americans, training and assisting Afghan forces. "While no ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary".

"If we decide to leave we risk to jeopardize the peace process, we risk to lose the gains we have made in the fight against global terrorism over the last years", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief said earlier this month.

"I think that we should change that so that actually North Atlantic Treaty Organisation contributes to covering those costs", Stoltenberg said, adding, making more allies pay for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions would serve as an incentive for other members to get involved in defense efforts.

Credit PA
Canada set to benefit as NATO considers compensation for military deployments

Under the Trump administration, much of the U.S.'s focus has been on getting all allies to spend 2% of GDP on their individual militaries.

"If we decide to leave, we risk to jeopardise the peace process, we risk to lose the gains we have made in the fight against global terrorism over the last years", the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief said earlier this month.

Militaries shouldn't have to foot the whole bill when they deploy troops for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions, the alliance's top official said Monday ahead of high-level talks that will include a debate about overhauling how operations are paid for.

This comes as Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, said this week that the level of violence in Afghanistan remains "too high" and the US is reviewing the peace deal signed with the Taliban previous year.

Insurgents have launched a string of offensives threatening at least two strategic provincial capitals in southern Afghanistan in recent months.

The warring sides launched peace talks in September, but progress has been slow and overshadowed by the violence.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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