NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels the alliance had been able to hand over responsibility for security to the Afghans forces.
“And that’s a huge difference between what we did before, because then we were in Afghanistan with a big combat mission with more than 100,000 troops.
“I am not saying that the situation in Afghanistan is easy. There is violence, there is terrorism, there is uncertainty, there are many challenges and sometimes a lot of disappointments.”
But together with the Afghans, he noted, NATO had been able to build a professional, dedicated force of Afghan police and soldiers, who were capable of dealing with attacks from the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
Stoltenberg promised continued support for training Afghan Special Operation forces and help them build a strong air force.
“We will have President Ghani here tomorrow and then we can, of course, discuss how we can develop, adjust, adopt the way we provide support to them,” he added.
Instead of conducting big combat operations, the NATO troops were helping the Afghans to fight terrorism Taliban themselves, the secretary-general explained.
“That concept, I am absolutely certain, is the right concept. Then our presence now is conditions based and I think that’s also one of the reasons why we have seen some progress in the efforts to find a political solution.” I
He reiterated NATO was trying to create the conditions for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and send a message to Taliban that they would not win on the battlefield.
The insurgents would have to negotiate with the Afghan government, he maintained, saying the NATO presence was needed to send that message to the Taliban.