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Afghan forces capable of defending own country: NSC

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: The Afghan National Security Council (NSC) said on Thursday the country’s security forces are capable of maintaining security in the country.
This comes just hours after US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced a full withdrawal of all foreign troops starting May 1.
According to them, all troops will be out of Afghanistan by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States.
A spokesman for the NSC, Rahmatullah Andar, meanwhile said: “Now the international community also believes that 96 percent of operations are carried out by the Afghan forces.”
“We are in the frontline of the counter-terrorism war and defense and protection of this land and people, and it is not a temporary responsibility but it’s our permanent obligation,” Andar said.
Both the US and NATO said however that while troops would be withdrawn, they would both look to continue providing financial help to Afghanistan – specifically regarding Afghan troops.
In a joint press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels late Wednesday night with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Stoltenberg said NATO will continue to support Afghanistan but not by having troops on the ground.
He said all Allies agreed Wednesday to start withdrawing troops from May 1 but added the decision was one that “carries risks”.
However, he noted that should NATO forces come under attack by the Taliban during the withdrawal phase they would be met with force.
Blinken said that the Taliban now has a choice to make and that it’s in “no one’s interests to plunge the country into a civil war”. He also said ultimately it will be the people of Afghanistan who decide their future. “They are the ones who have to decide.”

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The Kabul Times.