NATO Welcomes U.S. Taliban Talks resumption
NATO has invested heavily in security and stability in Afghanistan yet the solution to the vexed south Asian country has been elusive, now the overall goal is shifted to bring about a political resolution and the group is supporting the same.
Thus NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has indicated the group welcomes “contacts” between the United States and the Taliban.
“Secretary Pompeo has discussed, briefed Allies. Ambassador Khalilzad has briefed Allies, discussed this with Allies. And we are consulting all the time because it is not only US in Afghanistan but we have to remember there are also many non-US troops in Afghanistan,” he said.
Stoltenberg said that Afghanistan “remains our biggest military operation outside Europe” and he repeated NATO’s current mission “to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.”
Stoltenberg said: “We think that the best way we can make sure that there is a credible deal, a real deal, is that we continue to support the Afghan security forces, sending a message to the Taliban that we are ready to stay, we are committed, and they will not win on the battlefield.”
Referring to the Taliban, the secretary general said: “They have to sit down at the negotiating table and make real compromises. And therefore, the message from NATO is that we are committed, we will continue to support the Afghan security forces but of course, we also welcome any efforts to try to find a peaceful negotiated solution, including, of course, reduction of violence.”
NATO while pulling out of the country once an agreement has been reached with the Taliban will continue to support the Afghan security forces in capacity building.
The overall increase in defence spending by the NATO countries will facilitate the same. In 2019 defence spending across European Allies and Canada increased in real terms by 4.6 %, making this the fifth consecutive year of growth. Based on the latest estimates, the accumulated increase in defence spending by the end of 2024 will be $400 billion thus almost matching that of the US overall which would make it easier to provide money contributions to the Afghan forces.