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In general, NATO reassures: the US will remain in Afghanistan | Free press

After President Trump’s surprising plans to partially withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, NATO was quite unsettled. Now words of reassurance came – from the US military.

Brussels (dpa) – The US has assured its NATO partners that they will not end the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan for the time being.

According to General Scott Miller, the US capabilities needed for the Resolute Support mission should continue to be made available regardless of new troop reduction plans, NATO diplomats reported in Brussels.

Accordingly, the allies will likely have to make minor adjustments to their own forces. Recently, the Bundeswehr was involved in the NATO training mission for the Afghan government’s security forces with nearly 1,300 soldiers.

The administration of outgoing US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday, without consulting the Allies, that it would reduce US force in Afghanistan to 2,500 soldiers by January 15. As a result, there was initially great uncertainty in NATO about what the decision to deploy as an alliance would mean.

This was because the US armed forces are currently providing capabilities that other NATO countries cannot replace in the short term. These include, for example, those that allow rapid air support and rescue operations for wounded soldiers when attacking troops. According to official information, about 4,500 US soldiers were last deployed to Afghanistan.

The background to the plans for the withdrawal of US troops is an agreement that the Trump administration has signed with the militant Islamist Taliban. Among other things, it offers the prospect of a withdrawal of all US and NATO forces by the end of April 2021. In return, the Taliban have committed to peace talks with the government in Kabul and pledged to significantly reduce violence in the country.

In the view of many NATO partners in the US, the Taliban have not yet sufficiently fulfilled their commitments, and therefore the full withdrawal of all forces should not be planned for the time being. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently announced that a meeting of defense ministers in February will decide the future of the NATO mission.

US General Miller informed representatives of the allies, according to DPA information, at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council about plans to further reduce US force. Federal Secretary of State Heiko Maas (SPD), among others, was previously very critical of the announcements from Washington and warned that more information should come soon.

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