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November 21, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Afghanistan, NATO are now partners in war on terror, international security: President Ghani

KABUL: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Kabul on Monday and met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, a statement from the presidential press office said yesterday.
NATO SG and the National Unity Government Leaders shared views on the security situation, where Stoltenberg praised the Afghan forces for bravery and loyalty.
NATO official is expected to meetleaders, ministers and senior officials as well as with Afghan Civil Society representative and some other political figures during his two-day trip.
Jens Stoltenberg has accompanied by the Chairman of the Military Committee, Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Genera! Curtis Scaparrotti.
Appearing in a press conference with visiting NATO Secretary General in Kabul, President Ghani said the Afghan government has owned the peace and would lead it, while supporting US talks with Taliban.”US had talks with Taliban, but not negotiated with them.”
President Ghani said that government was forming an advisory council from all 34 provinces of the country so that the ground to be prepared for real discussion. “We hope that the day of beginning formal negotiations would not be far.”
“We support the engagement of our international colleagues,” President Ghani said adding the model of cooperation regionally is what happened in Uzbekistan where the conference was co-chaired.
Afghan forces’ braveries and sacrifices showed that Afghanistan was no longer dependent, but could remain an important partner, the President hinted to NATO’s Stoltenberg.
“Eye-catching developments, including that of reforms made in Afghan Forces ranks and steps taken to fight corruption,” the president noted, saying Afghan forces played important role in security of the parliamentary elections and did not interfere in the process.
The president also assured that presidential elections to be held on due time and date without any delay.
Meanwhile addressing the news conference, the NATO Secretary General congratulated the government and people of Afghanistan on the recent parliamentary elections. “For the first time, the Afghan forces assumed responsibility for security during the election,” he said, calling it “an important achievement”. He added: “I look forward to a smooth completion of the election process, and to the presidential election in the spring of next year.”
Stoltenberg underlined that NATO’s support for Afghanistan will continue, saying: “NATO is determined to see Afghanistan succeed. That’s why around 16,000 troops from 39 countries serve in our Resolute Support Mission.” He welcomed that the mission’s work has led to improvements in the Afghan Special Forces and Air Force.  Stoltenberg called on the Taliban and other insurgent groups to “stop killing their follow Afghans”. He added: “the Taliban must understand that continuing the fight is pointless and counterproductive. To be part of Afghanistan’s future, they must sit down at the negotiating table.” The Secretary General further stressed the need for an inclusive Afghan-owned and led peace process, saying: “the potential for peace is greater now than it has been in many years”. He added that “we count on the government to meet its commitments for good governance, the rule of law, fighting corruption and protecting the rights of all – especially women.” NATO Secretary General and his delegation is expected to also meet with National Security Advisor Dr Hamdullah Mohib, Commander of the Resolute Support Mission, General Austin Miller, and with NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann, as well as with Allied ambassadors, and with representatives of the European Union and United Nations.
The Kabul Times

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