The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the ongoing talks for a negotiated and peaceful settlement in Afghanistan focus on ‘a peace deal, not a leave deal’.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the NATO Defense Ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg said “First of all I would like to commend on Ambassador Khalilzad for his efforts and the hard work and his commitment to really find a solution. We all want to peacefully negotiate the political solution for Afghanistan.”

This comes as efforts are underway to end the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan through peace negotiations.

With the exit of foreign forces remaining as top demand of Taliban for a negotiated settlement, the NATO Secretary General said “He (Ambassador Khalizad)  has been very clear and I totally agree with him that this is not about negotiating a leave deal, this is about negotiating a peace deal. Then of course a peace deal may have implications for the presence of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, but then it is part of an agreed deal. That’s the reason why we so clearly and also agree with Ambassador Khalilzad when he stated yesterday that we went into Afghanistan together and we make decisions on our future posture in Afghanistan together and we will do that on conditions determined together with Afghans.”

“The aim is of course for us to not to stay forever in Afghanistan, but the aim for NATO in Afghanistan is to fight terrorism and to create conditions for a peaceful solution by helping, training and supporting the Afghan security forces. That’s exactly what to do and on the recents we see some increased possibilities for the peace deal, still we have a long way to go is actually that NATO has been present and to support and send a very clear message to Taliban,” he added.