The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he is confident that the alliance will extend the funding of the Afghan National Defense and Security until 2024.

Speaking during a press conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg said “Based on our discussions today, I am confident that we will agree to extend funding to the Afghan Security Forces to 2024 at next month’s Summit.”

He said “A strong signal of our long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s security. Significant challenges remain. Insurgents continue to use violence against innocent civilians. But in the face of these challenges, Afghan forces are doing an outstanding job. They have been in the lead for three years now. And we see the real progress in their ability to conduct offensive operations. To develop their Special Forces, Air Force and other capabilities. And to deny the Taliban their strategic objectives.”

“Our aim is to strengthen the Afghan security forces so they can create the conditions for a peaceful solution. An Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is essential to a long-term, inclusive political settlement,” he added.

Stoltenberg also reaffirmed support to President Ghani’s offer for peace process and said “President Ghani has made a bold proposal for peace talks.  And NATO will continue to do all we can to support that process.”

In regards to the upcoming elections, Stoltenberg said “Elections in October will be an important milestone.”

He also added “And we encourage the Afghan government to continue along the path of reform. To maintain its fight against corruption. And to uphold the human rights of all Afghans.”