After an appeal from the US to reconsider its decision concerning deployment of the army in Afghanistan, NATO has extended the deployment period of its army. The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg informed that NATO would be maintaining an army presence in Afghanistan until 2020 and assisting the Afghan forces to counter terrorism, adding that the precise number of troops to be deployed would be decided upon only next month.
The defence ministers of member countries of NATO met at its headquarters in Brussels on 14th and 15th June. Addressing the meeting, Stoltenberg announced that most member countries were in favour of extending the deployment period of the army in Afghanistan.
The present situation in Afghanistan called for the maintenance of an army presence, which would also serve the purpose of training and advice with respect to the war against terrorism and if need be, assist the Afghan forces in the anti-terrorism war. Also, the deployment of army in Afghanistan would continue into 2017, indicated the NATO Chief.
The security of Afghanistan even today, is a cause for concern. A senior diplomat stated however, that although NATO trains them in the fight against terrorism, the Afghan forces have yet to attain complete proficiency. At the same time, Taliban has stepped up attacks and these terrorists find safe asylum in Pakistan, alleged this diplomat on condition of anonymity.
It was only last week that the US declared expanded authority to its troops in Afghanistan. The 98,000 troops in Afghanistan who till now has trained and advised the Afghan national forces, have now been authorized to participate in the combat against the Taliban. This decision was a result of the escalating attacks of the Taliban. The schedule of withdrawal of the US troops posted in Afghanistan too was expecting a change. An official declaration in the matter could be made by President Barack Obama.
Following this decision of the Obama government, the US Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter appealed to NATO to discuss its position regarding Afghanistan, which was the backdrop of the meeting in Brussels.
Meanwhile, the British Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon expressed that it was of utmost importance that stability and peace be established in Afghanistan not to mention that it would be wrong to withdraw when the conflict in Afghanistan was so alive. Moreover, should the security machinery of Afghanistan collapse, migrants would hit Europe by the thousands. Besides, inviting this problem in Afghanistan at a time when the migrant issue was already getting intractable for the European nations, was certainly not advisable, said the British Secretary of State for Defence.