NATO countries want to keep forces in Afghanistan but need U.S. support - Afghan president

By Jonathan Landay and Charlotte Greenfield WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NATO alliance members are 'very much interested' in keeping troops in Afghanistan but they cannot remain without critical types of U.S. support, President Ashraf Ghani said on Friday.

Reuters January 30, 2021 00:12:06 IST
NATO countries want to keep forces in Afghanistan but need U.S. support - Afghan president

NATO countries want to keep forces in Afghanistan but need US support  Afghan president

By Jonathan Landay and Charlotte Greenfield

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NATO alliance members are "very much interested" in keeping troops in Afghanistan but they cannot remain without critical types of U.S. support, President Ashraf Ghani said on Friday.

The Afghan leader spoke as the new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden conducts a review of the U.S.-backed peace process and a February 2020 deal with the Taliban that set a May deadline for a full withdrawal of American forces.

Addressing an Aspen Institute-sponsored online program, Ghani said he had spoken to the leaders of Canada, Norway, Germany and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and that NATO is "very much interested in continuing" the alliance mission in Afghanistan.

"But...NATO, without U.S. enablers, cannot continue its mission," he said, using a military term for intelligence, air power and other kinds of support the United States provides.

Ghani also said that the United States - now with only 2,500 troops in Afghanistan - and NATO "must take a very strong stand on the conditions-based approach" to withdrawing their troops.

The 2020 U.S.-Taliban deal stipulates that the U.S. withdrawal from America's longest war be based on conditions on the ground and the Islamist insurgents' fulfillment of commitments, including ending cooperation with al Qaeda.

Former president Donald Trump authorized the reduction of U.S. forces to their lowest level since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, against the advice of some of his military commanders as violence surged and U.S. officials said the Taliban were still cooperating with al Qaeda.

The Taliban deny that there are still al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan.

Senior Biden administration officials have said that they are reviewing the U.S.-Taliban accord to gain a full understanding of the commitments made by the Trump administration and the insurgents.

Ghani said the administration plans to send a team to Kabul for consultations on stalled talks in Doha between the Taliban and a delegation that includes members of his government.

"The United States is going to send a team to Kabul. We'll also be talking by videoconference on how to energize the peace process," Ghani said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Charlotte Greenfield, Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.