He said Afghanistan was still a priority for the alliance.
“As I said we will have a summit next year here in Brussels and I am looking forward to meet the new president (elect) Donald Trump here to discuss a wide range of issues. I guess we will have ample opportunities to discuss Afghanistan which is NATO’s biggest military operation; we have been there for many many years,” he said.
Foreign ministers from NATO member nations gathered in Brussels on Monday where they discussed a number of wide-ranging issues pertaining to the alliance-member nations with consideration given to the situation in Afghanistan, the war against Daesh and NATO’s future relations with the United States.
Addressing a news conference in Brussels on Monday, Stoltenberg stressed the need for continued cooperation with the Afghan security forces in their campaign against terrorists.
“I would like to commend the Afghan security forces for the courage and professionalism they have shown, and we have to remember that since 2015 they have been in full responsibility for the security in Afghanistan themselves. NATO has ended combat operations, what we do now is to help to support, train and advise the Afghan forces, but they are in the frontline, they are responsible for the security in their own country. And it is quite impressive that together we have been able to build an Afghan national army and security forces around 350,000 troops and security personnel and they have been able to take over their own responsibility, and I think that is the biggest success of NATO in Afghanistan.” he said.
Stoltenberg hailed the efforts made by the Afghan forces, but expressed concerns over the fragile security situation.
“Some weeks ago I attended the Brussels conference where the international community decided to continue to fund Afghanistan with development aid, but also support for the armed forces and police,” he added.
“We also knew that violence will continue and that we will continue to face attacks from the Taliban and terrorist groups,” he said.
There are indications that the U.S forces in Afghanistan are once again getting involved in the war. But the UN has expressed concerns over a possible violation of the law of war by these forces.
Some Western and U.S officials have said that relations between the U.S and the UN soured over restrictions limiting access of UN institutions to gathering information regarding the U.S army’s activities in Afghanistan.
“America with consideration of its financial cooperation to the UN has always tried to encroach on the UN’s affairs, but it will be a good move for international institutions to be aware of what is going on in which area and to find the main reasons for civilian casualties in the country,” said MP Assadullah Saadati.
“We always saw that the United States kept its military information secret in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq and some other parts of the world. Now that the UN is willing to get access to this information, it would be a positive approach for all institutions and countries involved in Afghan affairs to reach a consensus to detect the main roots of problems,” said political analyst Toofan Waziri.
The recent U.S drone strike on eastern Afghanistan, the attack by the U.S forces on the MSF hospital in Kunduz which killed 40 civilians last year and the latest attack by the U.S forces on Buz-e-Qandahari area of Kunduz city which killed more than 30 people is said to be the main reason for the differences between international organizations and the U.S forces.