KABUL, Afghanistan – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warns of greater risk if the United States pulls out its forces from the country “too soon” or “uncoordinated”, said NATO in a statement Tuesday, amid expectation from Donald Trump withdrawing more troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before time.
“We have been in Afghanistan for almost 20 years, and no NATO ally wants to stay any longer than necessary,” said Stoltenberg in a statement. “But at the same time, the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high.”
If the US leaves Afghanistan ahead of time, it could risks the country “becoming once again a platform for international terrorists”, where ISIS could rebuild the “terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq”, according to the statement.
While the Afghan representatives and Taliban delegations started peace negotiations in Qatari capital Doha since early September, NATO said they support the peace process and “will continue to review” the level of its troops presence in Afghanistan.
“As part of this process, we have already significantly adjusted our presence,” said Stoltenberg. “We have repeatedly said that we will continue to review our troop levels.”
“We went into Afghanistan together. And when the time is right, we should leave together in a coordinated and orderly way,” he concluded.
NATO has under 12,000 troops in Afghanistan, of which more than half are non-US forces. “Even with further US [forces] reductions, NATO will continue its mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.”