The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a joint press conference thanked the Defence Minister for Belgium’s contributions to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission, and NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan.
NATO in a press release on Thursday said that Mr. Stoltenberg and Ms. Dedonder discussed the future of NATO’s presence in Afghanistan, which would be addressed at the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers on 17/18 February.
According to the press release, the Secretary General said that NATO now faces a difficult choice: stay and face a continued military engagement or leave and risk that Afghanistan again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.
“The Taliban must honour their commitments: reduce violence and cut ties to terror groups. Instead we see unacceptable levels of violence by the Taliban, including against doctors, judges and journalists,” he said. “We went into Afghanistan to prevent another 9/11. We have done that. Whatever path we now choose, we must ensure Afghanistan is never again a base for terrorism.”
NATO’s Secretary General and the Belgian Defence Minister also discussed NATO-EU partnership and the NATO 2030 initiative that aims to make the Alliance even stronger for the future. The Secretary General said he looks forward to the NATO summit in Brussels later in the year.