Nato’s training of Afghan forces maintained beyond drawdown

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Nato will continue to train Afghan soldiers even after the Alliance ends its 18-year mission in Afghanistan this year.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said support would be given to Afghan special forces outside the country, although he did not say where.

Nato has already begun withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, where about 10,000 were stationed to advise and train Afghan security as part of the Resolute Support Mission.

Mr Stoltenberg, speaking in Paris alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, said the Alliance would continue to provide such assistance.

“As we end our military presence, we are opening a new chapter. Nato’s future support will have three main pillars,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

“First, we plan to provide advice and capacity support to Afghan security institutions, as well as continued financial support to the Afghan security forces.

“Second, we are planning to provide military education and training outside Afghanistan, focusing on Special Operations Forces.”

Mr Stoltenberg said Nato also planned “to fund the provision of services, including support for the functioning of Kabul airport”.

“All this will enable Nato allies and the broader international community to continue to help the Afghan people and contribute to the peace efforts,” he said.

Security officials gather in the aftermath of a bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 18 March 2021. At least four people were killed and eleven others injured after a magnetic improvised explosive device (IED), targeting a minibus carrying employees of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, went off in Kabul. Hedayatullah Amid / EPA

US President Joe Biden wants American troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, 20 years to the day since the Al Qaeda attacks on US soil that sparked the initial invasion.

But there are fears that the drawdown could lead to the Afghan government being overrun by the Taliban, given the rising levels of violence in the country.

The National

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