At the end of this year, NATO complete its combat mission in Afghanistan and open a new chapter with Afghan security forces. The mission is based on a request from the Afghan government and the Status of Forces Agreement between NATO and Afghanistan. The security of Afghanistan will be fully in the hands of the country’s 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police. But NATO Allies, together with many partner nations, will remain to train, advise and assist them. This is what NATO and Afghan leaders agreed together.
This exit strategy has been a work in progress for several years. As U.S. president Barack Obama campaigned to end the war in Afghanistan and as president has repeatedly pledged to finish the job. NATO leaders nevertheless pledged to abide by a conditions-based by improving the security situation on the ground and not a calendar -driven approach and the international community to provide sustained agreement and practical support to Afghan security institutions beyond 2014.
NATO mandate in Afghanistan was carried out at great cost, but with great success.
For over a decade, NATO and our partners have stood with Afghanistan. 51 nations have contributed forces to the NATO´s effort – over a quarter of the countries of the world. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been the largest military coalition in recent history and represents an unprecedented international effort.
“Thanks to the remarkable effort of our forces, we have achieved what we set out to do. We have made our own nations safer, by denying safe haven to international terrorists. We have made Afghanistan stronger, by building up from scratch strong security forces. Together, we have created the conditions for a better future for millions of Afghan men, women and children” said NATO´s new Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, in statement: on a new chapter in Afghanistan.
But, many challenges remain, and there is much work still to do, as the Afghan security forces will continue to need more help as they develop. While the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will be completed, training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces and institutions will continue through a new, follow-on NATO-led mission called Resolute Support. This mission will not involve combat. Its support will be directed primarily to Afghan ministries and institutions, as well as the higher command level of the Afghan security forces. Planning and force generation are well underway.
The United Nations Security Council unanimously welcomed the agreement between Afghanistan and NATO to establish the mission and stressed the importance of continued international support for the stability of Afghanistan. The mandate of the United Nations Security Council was to help the Afghan authorities provide security across the country and develop new Afghan forces.
“The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion” – U.S. President Obama on Afghanistan, The White House Statement on 28th December
This has been made possible by the courage and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces, and by the dedication of the international forces who helped train them over the past years.