Leaving Afghanistan Would Cost Us More Than Staying: NATO Chief

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed a press conference ahead of the meeting of foreign ministers.

He stated that “We must continue to ensure that the country [Afghanistan] never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists. Over the past months, we have stepped up our support – with more forces and funding: Because the cost of leaving is bigger than the cost of staying”.

He added that “We’ll conclude the ministerial with a meeting of all nations contributing to the Resolute Support training mission in Afghanistan. The challenge in Afghanistan is great. And Allies and Afghan forces have suffered fatalities in recent months”, this admitting the high number of casualties in Afghanistan in recent months.

He also said that it has to be made sure that all NATO allies are safe.

Stoltenberg remarked that leaving Afghanistan would “cost us more than staying”.

Regarding ISIS, the NATO chief said that “ISIS in Afghanistan is working with the core ISIS in Levant. We have to be sure that the caliphate ISIS lost in Iraq and Syria is not re-established in Afghanistan.”

When asked a question about the presidential elections in Afghanistan, he replied that “It is up to the Afghan authorities to decide exactly when they hold presidential elections, taking into account the security situation and other issues.”

He also assured regarding the issue of US wanting a peace process conclusion before the presidential elections whether there is a possibility any push back, that “the presidential elections will be held and Afghan security forces are capable of ensuring the security of the process”.

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