Cost of walking from Afghanistan would be much higher than staying: Stoltenberg

BUCHAREST: The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the cost of walking away from Afghanistan would be much higher than the cost of staying in the country.

Speaking at the plenary session at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Romania on Tuesday, Stoltenberg said “The situation in Afghanistan is challenging. We all understand the cost of staying in Afghanistan. The human cost and the financial cost. But the cost of walking away would be much higher.”

Stoltenberg further added “If NATO leaves too soon, we risk Afghanistan returning to a state of chaos. A safe haven for international terrorism.”

He also added that “I have just returned from a trip to Afghanistan together with US Secretary of Defence Mattis.”

There is a renewed commitment to our efforts in Afghanistan, the Secretary General said, adding that “I have seen how well NATO troops are working with Afghan security forces. Providing training and support to them. Helping them to make progress on the battlefield, and reduce their casualties.”

Stoltenberg last month arrived to Kabul with the US Secretary of Defense where he called on the Taliban to join peace talks and warned that the alliance has never stepped back when the situation gets tough.

In the meantime, the Afghan officials are optimistic regarding the growing role of the NATO to support Afghanistan in the aftermath of the new US strategy announced by President Donald Trump late in August.