NATO Committed to ANDSF Despite Planned Troop Decrease

 

NATO’s Resolute Support mission has provided healthcare supplies and equipment to the ANA in the southeast.

Following this week’s defense ministers’ videoconference session in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that NATO and NATO allies have “expressed support” for the agreement between the US and Taliban, and in order to “support the peace efforts,” NATO will adjust troop levels in Afghanistan from “roughly 16,000 down to 12,000.” However, he reiterated that this decision was “conditions-based.”

NATO will continue to provide training, assistance and also financial support, Stoltenberg said, claiming that despite the planned troop reduction, NATO “will be able to continue the mission operations very much as we have done for many…for several years now.”

Speaking about the target troop level of 12,000, Stoltenberg said: “We were actually almost at that level until mid-2017. Then we had an increase to 16,000. Now we are back again almost at the same level we had before the increase in 2017.”

Speaking about the peace process, Stoltenberg said:

“We actually believe that the best way we can support the peace efforts is to continue to support the Afghan security forces” . . . and by doing that, sending a message to Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield, they have to sit down and make real compromises on the negotiating table.”

Stoltenberg reiterated his call to the Talban to work toward peace, saying: “We call on the Taliban to respect the peace . . . or the agreement with the US to reduce violence and to sit down and engage in intra-Afghan negotiations.”

The secretary general also spoke about the ongoing political crisis between President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and called for unity.

“It is also important that the political challenges we see on the government side and in Afghanistan, that they are addressed and we need unity. We need a functioning political process in Afghanistan, not least to be able to fully engage in the peace process.”

The secretary general also pledged that NATO will assist Afghanistan in fighting the COVID-19 virus.

“We are not only protecting our own personnel, but we are also providing support to the Afghan security forces – medical equipment but also training, advice and how to cope with the COVID-19 crisis,” said Stoltenberg.

On Thursday, NATO’s Resolute Support mission delivered medical materials to the 215th Maiwand Corps, including more than 13,000 disposable masks, 13,000 units of sanitizers, disinfectants and soaps, 1,000 sets of personal protective equipment for medical providers and patients, disposable gloves and protective eyewear, an RS statement read.

The shipment, which according to RS will be supplied to ANA brigades in Helmand and Nimroz, also included infrared thermometers—a non-contact method to measure temperatures and screen personnel who may have a fever, a main symptom of COVID19.

NATO Committed to ANDSF Despite Planned Troop Decrease