Afghanistan and NATO Open New Chapter of Cooperation and Support
December 4, 2014
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in his first day of visit to Europe met with NATO Secretary General Mr. Stoltenberg while the government Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was also present.
Following this meeting that took place in NATO Headquarters in Brussels of Belgium, President Ghani, Dr. Abdullah and Mr. Stoltenberg showed up in a joint press conference.
In this press conference President Ghani said, “On January 1st, 2015, we look to the new phase of a partnership, which has been earned through much sacrifice.”
Speaking on the Afghan and NATO forces sacrifice, the President said, “I pay tribute to more than 3400 NATO personnel who did the ultimate sacrifice of losing their lives and more than 30000 who have been injured in Afghanistan.”
The President further stated, “On December 31st, the combat mission of NATO will end, and the Afghan security forces are ready and willing to assume their patriotic duty to defend their own country and to safeguard the world.”
President Ghani added, “Our people have sacrificed to a greater extent in this war, and what brings us together is Afghan-NATO mutual interest”.
Thanking the NATO Secretary General, the President said, “We are very pleased to be here and the government of national unity represents the absolute majority of the people and the people of Afghanistan, through their elected representatives, have expressed their consent and consensus regarding this partnership. We look very much forward to implementing it”.
During this press conference, the Government Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah described the formation of National Unity Government as a new phase and said, “Endorsing the Afghan-US and Afghan-NATO agreements by the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, provides a legal frame for enduring presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan”.
Thanking the NATO contribution and its assistance in maintaining stability and construction of infrastructures in Afghanistan, the Chief Executive said that as a result of such cooperation and support, NATO and international community are now supporting Afghanistan as a country that is no longer home for terrorism.
Dr. Abudllah said, “The terrorists are no longer capable of performing acts similar to 9/11. But, we still need continued support and cooperation of NATO and international community”.
The Afghanistan Chief Executive further stated, “The spirit of cooperation you see in the new government of Afghanistan has resulted expanded cooperation not only for Afghanistan but also for changing the situation in the region and maintaining global peace”.
On second day of visit, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah met in Brussels with Foreign Ministers of NATO and fourteen partner countries decided on 2 December 2014 to launch mission Resolute Support as of 1 January 2015 opening a new chapter of cooperation between the Alliance and Afghanistan. They discussed final preparations for NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan from 2015 and issued the following joint statement.
1. In a spirit of common understanding, we welcome the successful conclusion of the Presidential Elections and a constitutional political transition in Afghanistan, and the establishment of the National Unity Government which has shown its determination to implement urgently needed reforms, including advancing women’s rights and empowerment. We also welcome Afghanistan’s signature and ratification of the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO and the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States.
2. We honour the joint sacrifices made and applaud the results achieved over more than a decade, during which we have stood shoulder to shoulder to maintain and enhance security, and in support of international efforts to root out terrorism in Afghanistan. We note with great satisfaction that Afghan leaders have voiced their support for the declaration on Afghanistan made at the Wales Summit in September 2014. We will work together to carry forward our partnership and, with the wider international community, to continue to promote security, peace, development, human rights and rule of law in Afghanistan.
3. The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) are currently in the lead for security throughout Afghanistan. From January 2015, they will have assumed full responsibility for security throughout Afghanistan and the nature and scope of NATO’s support to Afghanistan will change. Today we agree to launch the Resolute Support Mission on 1 January 2015. This new non-combat mission will train, advise and assist the ANDSF.
4. Since the Wales Summit, when pledges for the sustainment of the ANDSF were confirmed, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and donors have reviewed and agreed to contribute to ANDSF funding requirements for 2015. Arrangements continue to be put in place to ensure transparency, accountability and cost effectiveness of contributions.
5. We agree to strengthen our Enduring Partnership. We will do this by enhancing practical cooperation, including building the capacity of Afghan security institutions, and by initiating political dialogue and regular consultations on a range of topics of mutual interest. We will also set up a senior level joint task force that will take this relationship forward.
6. It is our common understanding that the above mutually-reinforcing strands of NATO’s engagement represent a significant continuing commitment and practical support by Allies and partners to Afghanistan. Today, we are proud to have started together a new chapter in our relationship.