NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivering speech at the Lowy Institute (Sydney)

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance strongly support efforts achieve a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Australia, Stoltenberg said “NATO Allies and partners like Australia are working side-by-side. Together we work to ensure Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists. And we help the Afghans create the conditions for peace.”

Stoltenberg further added “We are now closer to a peace deal in Afghanistan than we have been ever before. And we strongly support efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the conflict.”

This comes as the U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is busy negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban leaders in Qatari capital of Doha.

Ambassador Khalilzad left for Delhi after making ‘excellent progress’ in the talks on a potential deal with Taliban on Monday.

“Building on excellent progress in Kabul last week, I’ve spent the last few days in Doha, focused on the remaining issues in completing a potential deal with the Taliban that would allow for a conditions-based troop withdrawal. We have made excellent progress,” he said in a Twitter post.

He also added that his team and Taliban representatives will continue to discuss technical details as well as steps and mechanisms required for a successful implementation of the four-part agreement that they have been working toward since his appointment.