NATO Chief Says ‘All Options Open’ on Afghan Troops Withdrawal

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said “all options remain open” on Afghanistan, as allies wait for Washington to decide on a looming withdrawal deadline.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to Brussels for two-days of meetings with NATO foreign ministers, looking to shore up ties on his first official trip to Europe.

High on the agenda is the future of the alliance’s 9,600-strong mission in Afghanistan after former US leader Donald Trump struck a deal with the Taliban to withdraw troops by May 1.ّّّ

“There are no easy choices and for now, all options remain open,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference.

“The security situation is difficult and we will take all the necessary measures to keep our troops safe.”
Current US President Joe Biden is reviewing the accord and said last week it would be “tough” for Washington to meet that date.

That prompted outrage from the Taliban, who warned that the US would be “responsible for the consequences.”

NATO allies have said they are willing to stay in Afghanistan longer, if Washington decides to remain as well.

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Latest from Newsfeed; Tuesday, March 23 2021