NATO Chief Warns Of ‘Heavy Price’ If US Troops Leave Afghanistan

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US troops wait for their helicopter flight at an Afghan National Army (ANA) base in Logar province, Afghanistan. | Reuters/File

Washington- The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said that the military organisation could pay a heavy price for leaving Afghanistan too early, after US President Donald Trump’s administration’s plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, Tolo News reported.

“Afghanistan risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands. And ISIS (Daesh) could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.

“NATO Allies support the peace process in Afghanistan. As part of this process, we have already significantly adjusted our presence,” he added.

Stoltenberg said that he has repeatedly stressed that they will continue to review their troop levels in Afghanistan.

“We now have under 12,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, and more than half of these are non-US forces.”

The NATO mentioned that even with further US reductions, the organisation will continue its mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan security forces. “We are also committed to funding them through 2024.”

“We went into Afghanistan together. And when the time is right, we should leave together in a coordinated and orderly way. I count on all NATO allies to live up to this commitment, for our own security,” Stoltenberg said.

Last month, US President Donald Trump said in a Twitter post that he wanted all 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan home by Christmas, but top military and national security aides advised against such a precipitous withdrawal, Tolo News further reported.

The reports come as violence has significantly increased in the country despite peace efforts.

Meanwhile, the peace negotiations in Doha have stalled over differences on ground rules for the talks.

 

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