By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Addressing a joint press conference together with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Kabul, President Ghani thanked their support of the Afghan government and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), saying there were no need of the new commitments, as security pacts have already reached with NATO and the US after consultation with the Afghan nation and their approval by the Afghan parliament.
Pointing to NATO’s cooperation with Afghanistan, the president thanked the organization’s retirement of commitments for supporting of ANDSF till 2024. The president also thanked US attention towards peace and stability in the country.
“We are issuing a joint declaration today that says Afghanistan us the sovereign state as well as the member of the UN,” the president said, adding that international support to the ANDSF would be continued.
Praising the bravery and sacrifices of the Afghan forces in war on terror and establishing a safe and sound environment for the citizens, the president hoped the US-Taliban deal lead to durable peace in the country. “ANDSF to have crucial role of maintaining peace in the country after reaching an agreement with Taliban.”
“All the contents of the US-Taliban deal are conditional; however, some articles of the deal need clarification which would be discussed in intra-Afghan talks,” the president said.
President Ghani also said that reduction of the US troops was initially proposed by him to the US president, adding that the Afghan forces were conducting 95 percent of the operations in the country.
“The tragedy of 9/11 brought us together and we have given much sacrifices in war on terror,” the president told the visiting US and NATO officials, adding that Afghanistan and its allies had common goals of a stable region and world.
The president also said that around 10 million Afghans were displaced in last 19 years due to violence in the country which show that they have been tired of war and willing durable peace.
Delivering his remarks, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the main aim behind US-Taliban deal was to end war in the country. “Afghans deserve to live in peaceful atmosphere,” he said, asking Taliban to continue reduction in violence and fulfill their promises.
“We will continue to support Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to help protect an independent Afghanistan,” he added.
The NATO Secretary General also reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to Afghanistan and ongoing support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. “We are committed to working with the Afghan people and government to support next steps toward peace,” NATO secretary general said.
“For eighteen years, NATO and our partners have stood with the people of Afghanistan in the pursuit of security and stability. We honor the women and men from Allied and partner nations who served and especially those who gave their lives for the cause of peace. We pay tribute to the great sacrifices made by the people of Afghanistan and, in particular, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, over the course of this long conflict. These efforts have laid the foundation for building a sustainable peace.”