NATO chief warns against rapid troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Tuesday of a 'high price' if Western allies pull troops out of Afghanistan too quickly, saying it could allow Islamic State militants to regroup. U.S. President Donald Trump has made ending the 19-year-old American engagement in Afghanistan a priority by Christmas, but while many NATO allies also want to leave the country, many feel it could be reckless given militant violence plaguing Afghanistan.

Reuters November 18, 2020 00:13:18 IST
NATO chief warns against rapid troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

NATO chief warns against rapid troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Tuesday of a "high price" if Western allies pull troops out of Afghanistan too quickly, saying it could allow Islamic State militants to regroup.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made ending the 19-year-old American engagement in Afghanistan a priority by Christmas, but while many NATO allies also want to leave the country, many feel it could be reckless given militant violence plaguing Afghanistan.

"The price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high," Stoltenberg said in a statement.

"Afghanistan risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organise attacks on our homelands. And ISIS could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq," he said, referring to Islamic State militants. 

Trump fired his defence secretary, Mark Esper, and appointed other top Pentagon officials last week, in part because of frustration that not enough was being done to meet his Christmas withdrawal target.

But Reuters reported on Tuesday that Trump's new Pentagon team has not yet signalled an imminent withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, raising expectations among U.S. officials and allies that Trump might settle for a partial reduction before leaving office.

The United States has around 4,500 troops currently in Afghanistan. Including the United States, there are under 12,000 NATO troops overall in Afghanistan, Stoltenberg said in his statement.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, Esper's replacement, spoke to Stoltenberg by phone on Nov. 13 and discussed coordination in Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Nick Macfie)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

The forces fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray conflict
World

The forces fighting in Ethiopia's Tigray conflict

ADDIS ABABA/NAIROBI (Reuters) - Ethiopia's military is fighting battle-hardened troops in the northern Tigray region, threatening stability around the Horn of Africa. Here are some facts on the forces: THE NATIONAL MILITARY: THE ENDF The Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) has around 140,000 active personnel, the vast majority of them in the army, according to the Janes security data group. Its troops have been tested by Islamist militants in Somalia and rebel groups in Ethiopia's border regions, as well as a two-year border war with Eritrea followed by an 18-year standoff that only ended in 2018.

Turkey to impose measures to combat coronavirus, Erdogan says
World

Turkey to impose measures to combat coronavirus, Erdogan says

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the government will impose tighter measures to fight with the coronavirus and impose partial lockdowns on weekends across the country. Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Erdogan also said all schools will remain closed until the year-end and all restaurants will only work by delivery

Brazil to track illegal Amazon wood exports using isotopes, president says
World

Brazil to track illegal Amazon wood exports using isotopes, president says

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday his government in coming days will name countries that are importing wood illegally extracted from the Amazon. Addressing a BRICS summit of big developing economies, Bolsonaro said Brazilian police had developed a way of tracking wood exported from the Amazon using isotopes.