Afghan Politicians Are To Blame For The Country’s Military Failure, According To NATO Secretary-General

BRUSSELS — On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg blamed the rapid fall of Afghanistan’s Western-backed armed forces on a failure of Afghan leadership, but he acknowledged that the alliance must fix shortcomings in its military training program.

Since 2003, NATO has led international security efforts in Afghanistan, although combat operations were suspended in 2014 to focus on training Afghanistan’s national security forces. NATO assisted in the formation of a 300,000-strong army, but it quickly disintegrated in the face of the Taliban onslaught.

After chairing a conference of NATO ambassadors, Stoltenberg told reporters, “What we have witnessed in the last few weeks was a military and political breakdown at a speed that had not been anticipated.”

Parts of the Afghan army “fought valiantly,” he added, but “ultimately, the Afghan political leadership failed to stand up to the Taliban and deliver the peaceful settlement that Afghans craved.”

“This lack of Afghan leadership has resulted in the catastrophe we are experiencing today,” said Stoltenberg, who has long maintained that the Taliban can only win at the negotiation table and not on the battlefield.

Around 10,000 soldiers from 36 member and partner nations participated in NATO’s “Resolute Support Mission” to train Afghan security forces a year ago. “There are presently no soldiers under NATO command in Afghanistan,” a NATO source said on Sunday.

Despite the weaknesses highlighted by corruption and a lack of leadership in Afghanistan, the 30-country military alliance thinks that training local security forces is the best approach to battle extremists like the Islamic State group while avoiding placing Western soldiers in harm’s path.

NATO is presently training troops and assisting in the development of national security institutions in Iraq, Jordan, and Tunisia, as well as Georgia and Moldova. It has also committed to giving security advice to Libya’s conflict-torn country “when situations permit.”

“We need to keep fighting worldwide terrorism,” Stoltenberg said, insisting that NATO’s actions have weakened the Al Qaeda network. He believes that if NATO effectively trains local troops, it will be able to avoid being embroiled in war operations.

“The key question we have to address in an honest and clear-eyed way is why didn’t the troops we trained, equipped, and backed for so many years, why weren’t they able to stand up to the Taliban in a stronger and better fashion than they did?” he admitted.

In “extremely serious and unpredictable” conditions, Stoltenberg said NATO’s short-term goal is to guarantee that people from member and partner nations, as well as Afghans who assisted them, can get out safely.

lgnews-Afghan-PoliticiansAbout 800 civilians from NATO nations have stayed in Afghanistan to assist, he added, especially in maintaining the Kabul airport operational, which includes employees for air traffic control, aircraft fueling operations, and communications.

Stoltenberg also asked the Taliban to respect people who want to flee and not shut border crossings or airports. He urged the militants to refrain from “revenge or vengeance” in order to guarantee a smooth transition of power.

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