AVA- “If we leave, Taliban will come back,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said speaking at Mediterranean Dialogues Conference in Rome. “The cost of leaving is higher than the cost of staying in Afghanistan.”
Stoltenberg admitted that there are still “big problems” in Afghanistan after 17 years of the NATO presence in the country. He, however, suggested NATO’s stay in the country is important to prevent it from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.
“There is violence, there are problems, and there are setbacks. ISIS, Taliban, al Qaeda are still there but at least it’s not the safe haven it was before 2001 to organize and plan terrorist attacks against our countries,” Stoltenberg said.
He said that the coalition was trying to create the conditions for a political solution. “Taliban has to understand that they will never win on the battlefield. They have to sit down and negotiate a political settlement.”
Referring to ISIS, Stoltenberg said that the group is trying to get a foothold in Afghanistan and remains a challenge.