NATO makes fresh funding, troop pledge for Afghanistan
Warsaw— Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said the peace initiatives taken by Afghanistan with Pakistan are not successful as Pakistan differentiates between good and bad terrorists “in practice”.
“Our regional initiatives with neighbours are beginning to yield significant cooperative dividends. However, the exception is with Pakistan,” the Afghan president said during his speech on second day of Nato summit.
He added that despite clear commitments to the quadrilateral peace process, “Pakistan’s dangerous distinction between good and bad terrorists is being maintained in practice.”
“The key problem among our neighbouring states is an absence of agreed rules of the game, thus we seek regional and global support in creating those rules, which will bind us to collective security and harmony,” said Ghani.
The Afghan president maintained that the world leaders should understand that Afghanistan is facing a multi-dimensional conflict and is fighting all sorts of groups “ranging from Al-Qaeda and Daesh to terrorist groups with Central Asian, Chinese, and Russian origins, to Pakistani groups classified as terrorists by Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban groups”.
Citing the 2015 Makkah declaration against terrorism as an example, Ghani claimed that Afghanistan’s dialogue within the Arab-Muslim community was also productive.
He was of the view that the recent terrorist attack near the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in Madina has outraged the Muslim community and “should result in a consensus against the tiny minority that is attempting to hijack our civilisation.”
Meanwhile, NATO agreed Saturday to maintain troop numbers in Afghanistan and reiterated a funding pledge for local security forces through 2020, but officials did not say when the alliance’s longest military engagement might end.
“There’s no reason to speculate exactly on how long it will continue,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at an alliance summit in Warsaw.
“What we have seen is we are committed, and we are ready to stay.” about 13,000 NATO troops, of which nearly 10,000 are American, are currently stationed in Afghanistan under Operation Resolute Support, to train and assist Afghan security forces.
Stoltenberg said NATO will keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan through 2017 under Resolute Support.
He did not provide additional details, but said troop levels would about the same as this year, with “around” 12,000 deployed.
The 28-nation US-led alliance would look at the situation again next year before deciding future force commitments.
The NATO mission in Afghanistan costs about $5 billion a year (4.5 billion euros), with approximately $3.5 billion coming from the United States. Stoltenberg said other allies had “nearly” gathered about $1 billion for next year. The remaining funds are due to come from Afghanistan.— Agencies