NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg responded on Tuesday to reports of a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan by resolving to continue the NATO mission into its third decade.
“The price for leaving too soon, or in an uncoordinated way, could be very high,” he warned.
NATO took a leadership role in the United Nations-mandated international security force in Afghanistan in August 2003. At its peak, the force included over 130,000 troops from 50 nations, including NATO and its partner countries.
In 2015, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan transitioned into a “Resolute Support Mission” with about 12,000 troops, dedicated to training and supporting the Afghan military, which had supposedly become capable of protecting the internationally-recognized Afghan government on its own, with a little help from American and European forces.
Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that NATO would continue its mission in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, including a commitment to fund Afghan security forces