NATO: Stoltenberg, Ghani Discuss Peace, Troop Level Adjustment; UK will likely follow the US in cutting Afghan troops

By TOLOnews, TV Network

NATO Secretary General says that even with the US reduction, NATO will continue to assist the Afghan forces.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on a phone call with President Ghani on Wednesday evening discussed the Afghan peace process and troops level adjustment with the Afghan leader.

Stoltenberg said in a tweet that even with the US reduction, NATO will continue to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces in their fight against international terrorism.

“Both sides talked about the Afghan peace process and NATO’s continued support to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces in their fight against terrorism,” presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday that a premature troop withdrawal from Afghanistan may complicate peace talks between the government in Kabul and the Taliban, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The remarks come as US plans to pull out 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by mid-January.

“It remains very important for us not to jeopardize what we have reached so far by taking any rash actions,” Maas said quoting by Reuters.

The German government is in touch with Washington and the NATO alliance and is looking into what consequences the US withdrawal would have for the around 1,200 German troops still deployed to Afghanistan as part of a larger NATO mission, he said.

“We are especially concerned how the US announcement will affect the peace talks for Afghanistan,” Maas said, adding that the negotiations were already complicated enough and by far not completed, he said.

“In this situation, we should not establish additional hurdles that a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan would certainly bring,” he added.

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SOURCE : AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

19 November 2020

UK will likely follow the US in cutting Afghan troops

The comments by the UK’s defence secretary comes after the US announced to cut troop size from 4,500 to 2,500 by January.

The announcement came as there has been an uptick in violence, with the Taliban continuing to carry out attacks targeting government leaders, security forces and civilians.

Wallace said the Americans were not totally pulling out at this stage, and neither was the UK, which has about 1,000 troops stationed in the war-torn country.

But he said: “I expect if they (the US) are reducing at some stage, we will come down.”

Wallace said the UK had limited scope to act independently of its largest ally, but an increased funding settlement he had agreed with the finance ministry would in the future give the country greater options.

Wallace said the UK had limited scope to act independently of its largest ally, the US [File: Toby Melville/Reuters]

“Part of this defence review is how can Britain be more independent,” he told Sky News. “How can we complement each other around the world. If one power or another pulls out and we … decide we want to stay longer, we could do so.” “At the moment if the United States unilaterally pulls out of some of these countries we have a challenge.”

Following the US announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that a “hasty” withdrawal by the United States, which lead’s NATO’s coalition in Afghanistan, could lead to further violence. “We now face a difficult decision. We have been in Afghanistan for almost 20 years, and no NATO ally wants to stay any longer than necessary. But at the same time, the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high,” Stoltenberg said in a statement on Monday.

NATO has fewer than 12,000 troops from dozens of nations in Afghanistan helping to train and advise the national security forces.

NATO: Stoltenberg, Ghani Discuss Peace, Troop Level Adjustment; UK will likely follow the US in cutting Afghan troops