NATO, US defense chiefs' visit to Afghanistan sign of firm support of Afghan forces

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/28 8:59:11

The joint visit of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense Secretary James Mattis to Afghanistan on Wednesday has demonstrated their support to Afghan security forces in the war against the Taliban and associated groups, observers here said.

Both the military chiefs paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul to review the situation in the militancy-plagued country, as well as to hold talks with commanders of the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

"Our presence together in Afghanistan reflects our continuing commitment to bringing stability and peace," the NATO chief said at a joint press conference attended by the head of the Pentagon and president Ghani.

"The Taliban must understand that they cannot win on the battlefield and there is much more to gain around the negotiating table," the NATO Secretary General stated.

Welcoming the visit as a sign of close relations between Kabul and Washington, Afghan analyst Mohammad Reza Huwaida said that the surprise tour to Afghanistan amid increasing militancy sends a strong message to the Taliban and their supporters that the militants have no chance to win the war.

"By renewing their commitment to Afghanistan, the military chiefs of the US and NATO have sent a strong message to the Taliban and their supporters to give up support, of any kind, including military, diplomatic and financial, to the militants fighting in Afghanistan," Huwaida told Xinhua.

Huwaida who is the editor-in-chief of the English newspaper the Daily Outlook also stated that giving up support to the militants and chocking their financial resources would undermine Taliban's ability on the battlegrounds.

During the visit of the two military leaders, Taliban militants fired rockets at the Kabul international airport causing panic among locals.

Stoltenberg also stated that NATO had welcomed the new United States' approach to Afghanistan, saying "I welcome the fact that many nations have pledged further troop contributions and accepted the US conditions-based approach to Afghanistan."

More than 14,000 troops from 39 countries including the US are stationed in Afghanistan within the framework of the RS, to help Afghan forces through training, advise and generally back them in the war against the insurgents.

According to media reports, there are 11,000 US troops in Afghanistan operating under the auspices of the RS and the Pentagon. An additional 3,500 additional troops will reportedly be sent to the militancy-battered country to bolster the backing of the Afghan forces' ongoing ousting of insurgents.

"The visit of the US Defense Secretary and NATO Secretary General to Afghanistan at this critical stage where the Taliban and like-minded groups have increased their subversive activities is very important."

"It has given the message to insurgents' supporters that the US and allied nations will continue to support Afghan forces in the war on terror," Farooq Majroh, a legislator, was quoted as saying on a program on the matter, on local television station Tolo on Wednesday.


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