NATO extends funding to Afghan forces until 2024

NATO has extended funding to Afghan defense and security forces until 2024, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday, following the end of two-day summit in Brussels.

“We provide support to the  Afghan army and security forces in different ways. We provide training and funding and what we decided today was to continue both with training and funding,” Stoltenberg told reporters during a news conference in Brussels.

“Our current commitment to funding is 2020,  now we have decided to have funding to 2024,” he added.

Stoltenberg stressed that the money and the training which NATO provides would be used to strengthen the Afghan forces in many different areas.

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Mattis upbeat on NATO adding troops to Afghanistan

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis appears optimistic that NATO allies and partner nations will add troops in Afghanistan to help train and assist local forces.

“Right now, I’d say there’s somewhere approximately two-dozen NATO allies and partner countries that are leaning towards raising the number of troops, now that’s out of 39 total countries on the battlefield, so it’s a little over two dozen,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

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Note to President Ghani: Afghanistan Needs Self-Help

KABUL, Afghanistan – If I were so bold as to send a note to President Ashraf Ghani, I would say this: Tell your people to stop waiting for help from others. They cannot rely on foreign support. Tell your citizens they should instead take an active role in restoring peace to Afghanistan themselves. Tell them they can do this. Tell them that your government will help them.

Too much time and energy is wasted – by Afghanistan’s political leaders, educated elite and the public itself – urging the international community to rush to their rescue. When our leaders constantly spout this idea that Afghanistan needs more foreign troops, money and assistance, it becomes woven into the national psyche.

President Ghani recently told a citizen gathering in Paktia province that he has finally convinced world leaders that the war in Afghanistan is a foreign project that requires foreign solutions. He seemed to suggest that the world will save us all.

These kinds of remarks are more suited to a politician running for office. We need strong leadership from an experienced president who can inspire citizens with a sense of pride and ownership in their own land.

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NATO Will Not Allow Afghanistan To Be A Safe Haven For Terrorists

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a meeting with New Zeeland’s Prime Minister Bill English in Brussels on Thursday said they will not allow Afghanistan become a safe haven for terrorists.

Stoltenberg expressed his gratitude to New Zealand for contributing to the NATO presence in Afghanistan and other international coalitions, saying that the country was “one of NATO’s closest partners”.

“The aim of our presence in Afghanistan is to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists,” Stoltenberg said.

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Alexander Mantytskiy: our ties with the Taliban only for security of Central Asia

We have ties with the Taliban to ensure the security of our political offices, consulates and the security of central Asia

Alexander Mantytskiy, the Russian ambassador to Afghanistan, on Thursday confirmed Russia has ties with the Taliban, but said the relationship aimed to ensure the protection of Russia’s political offices in Afghanistan.

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Stoltenberg: NATO to reaffirm support to Afghanistan during foreign ministerial

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the NATO Foreign Ministerial will kick off on Tuesday with the Foreign Ministers of the alliance to discuss Afghanistan on Wednesday.

“On Wednesday, we will meet with Afghan Foreign Minister Rabbani, to reaffirm our commitment to supporting Afghans to secure their own country, and to review Afghanistan’s reforms, which are linked to continued international support,” Stoltenberg said.

He said “NATO’s presence in Afghanistan demonstrates our long-term commitment to the fight against terrorism. It is helping to stabilise the region and stem the flow of migrants and refugees.”

According to Stoltenberg, the alliance will will discuss the progress made in boosting the capacity of their neighbours to the east and to the south, including our support to the Counter-ISIL Coalition, training of Iraqi officers, and alliance’s new Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean.

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Taliban reacts towards Pentagon Chief’s visit and remarks in Afghanistan

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan reacted towards the visit by the US defense secretary Ashton Carter in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The visit by Carter followed days after the US and NATO leaders reaffirmed long term support to Afghanistan and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).

Renewing the group’s stance to continue insurgency in the country, the Taliban group spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said “Our struggle against the invaders shall continue until the complete independence of our country and establishment of pathway for an Islamic system. No threat can ever stop our struggle in this path.”

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Pentagon Chief in Afghanistan to meet Afghan leaders, US commanders

The US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has arrived in Afghanistan to meet with the Afghan officials and US commanders based in Afghanistan.

The visit by Carter follows days after Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders renewed pledge to support Afghanistan and maintain forces in the country.
He is expected to meet with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah during his visit.

This comes as President Barack Obama announced last week to keep 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan through January 2017.

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General Campbell: seeks to keep more troops in Afghanistan

As the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorating day by day, the NATO and U.S. military commander in Afghanistan General John F. Campbell seeks to keep as many U.S. troops in Afghanistan as possible through 2016.

In a telephonic interview with USA TODAY from Kabul, Gen. John Campbell said that maintaining the current force of 9,800 U.S. troops to train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism raids is vital, and that the scheduled reduction to 5,500 by Jan. 1, 2017, should be put off as long as possible.

“My intent would be to keep as much as I could for as long as I could,” he said. “At some point it becomes physics. I’m going to have to get them out.”

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Putin tells troops to capture al-Baghdadi alive Putin tells troops to capture al-Baghdadi alive

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked his forces fighting against IS in Syria that he wants Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, alive.

The Middle-East Panorama website reports that Putin wants the dead body of al-Baghdadi displayed in case he is killed.

The website made the announcement referring to aware sources.

Russia has been pounding IS positions in Syria claiming heavy casualties to IS militants. Russian officials say that the airstrike will continue.

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