News - Afghanistan
Speaking before the start of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commended "the professionalism of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces" in Monday's operation to bring down insurgents who had attacked Parliament.
He went on to say: "And we honor their sacrifices."
He said that Thursday's meeting was to discuss the progress of the Resolute Support mission and to assess the current security and political situation in Afghanistan.
He said key discussion points included how NATO will evolve its Resolute Support Mission and how it will continue to support the Afghan Security Forces through capacity building and institutional development.
He acknowledged NATO, its partners and the government of Afghanistan in having achieved a great deal.
"The future of Afghanistan lies in the hands of the Afghan people. And we remain committed to supporting them every step of the way."
After the day's session he again addressed the media and said this was the first meeting with the new Acting Minister of Defense from Afghanistan – acting minister Masoom Stanekzai.
"And it was a very good meeting," he said.
"We took stock of the progress we have made since the launch of Resolute Support at the beginning of this year. We discussed the evolution of the mission.
And we looked at how we will continue to support the Afghan National Security Forces. How we will do that also in the longer term."
He said it has been six months since the Afghan forces took full responsibility for security in Afghanistan and that it has been a challenging time. "There have been attacks in Kabul and fighting across the country."
But he said the Afghan forces have dealt with this effectively and that they have "shown exemplary courage, determination and commitment in these very challenging environments".
He also said that the Afghan government has "set out an ambitious reform program. We encourage the government to continue to implement these reforms.
They are determined to bring peace to their country. And we strongly support the Afghan Government in their efforts."
"NATO and our partners stand with Afghanistan," he said.
In terms of moving forward, he said that they will look at to do this as best they can and over the coming months will make further decisions.
"At our meeting of Foreign Ministers in May, we recognized the need to support Afghanistan's security institutions after the end of the current mission, through our enhanced Enduring Partnership," he said referring to what will occur after the Resolute Support mission will have been concluded. No decision has yet been made of when RS will end.
"Today, we have confirmed our commitment to a civilian-led presence in Afghanistan after the Resolute Support to further develop Afghan security institutions.
This is a time of changes and challenges, both for Afghanistan and for NATO. But together, we will rise to the challenges and we will stand together."