NATO chief warns Trump in opposition to Afghanistan pullout – POLITICO

Amid reviews that defeated U.S. President Donald Trump is planning a significant withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, NATO Secretary-Normal Jens Stoltenberg warned Tuesday in opposition to a hasty pullout, saying “the worth for leaving too quickly or in an uncoordinated manner could possibly be very excessive.”

Some 12,000 NATO troops stay in Afghanistan, with greater than half of these from non-U.S. allied nations. Trump has repeatedly stunned NATO allies with unilateral army motion, or bulletins, throughout his 4 years in workplace, at instances forcing the alliance to scramble for contingency responses amid fears that army personnel had been put in danger. This included previous unexpected withdrawals from Afghanistan and Syria in December 2018, in addition to the targeted killing of the Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani early this yr.

Stoltenberg has labored exhausting over the previous 4 years to maintain Trump on board with NATO, however Trump’s latest election defeat to former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to offer the secretary-general room to concern some unvarnished criticism of the contemplated withdrawal — and a reminder that NATO forces are within the nation in response to an assault on the U.S.

“NATO went into Afghanistan after an assault on america to make sure that it could by no means once more be a secure haven for worldwide terrorists,” Stoltenberg mentioned in his assertion Tuesday. “A whole lot of hundreds of troops from Europe and past have stood shoulder to shoulder with American troops in Afghanistan, and over 1,000 of them have paid the last word value.”

“We now face a tough choice,” Stoltenberg continued. “We’ve been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years, and no NATO ally desires to remain any longer than essential. However on the identical time, the worth for leaving too quickly or in an uncoordinated manner could possibly be very excessive.  Afghanistan dangers turning into as soon as once more a platform for worldwide terrorists to plan and manage assaults on our homelands. And ISIS might rebuild in Afghanistan the phobia caliphate it misplaced in Syria and Iraq.”

In his assertion, Stoltenberg emphasised that NATO had deliberate to maintain troops in Afghanistan to coach, advise and help Afghan safety forces by means of 2024, even with anticipated, persevering with U.S. reductions in forces. Whereas Trump has refused to concede the election, Stoltenberg is among the many leaders who’ve extended congratulations to Biden.

“We went into Afghanistan collectively,” Stoltenberg mentioned. “And when the time is correct, we should always go away collectively in a coordinated and orderly manner.  I rely on all NATO allies to dwell as much as this dedication, for our personal safety.”

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