Norway, Germany offering help with Intra-Afghan talks: NATO

KABUL (TOLO News): NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, speaking to media at the start of the NATO defense ministerial in Brussels, said that Norway and Germany have offered to help with intra-Afghan talks.

Stoltenberg also said that the NATO defense ministers will address the situation in Afghanistan during their meetings over the next couple of days, adding that “NATO is committed to our training mission there.”

“We strongly believe that that’s the best way for NATO to support the peace process in the efforts to find a political, negotiated solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. And we would welcome any steps that can lead to a reduction in violence,” he said, referring to the current US-Taliban peace talks underway in Doha where both sides are currently discussing a reduction in violence as a precursor to a signed deal, followed by intra-Afghan talks.

Also at the press conference, the NATO secretary general said: “ (I) look forward to welcoming all the defense ministers to the meeting today and tomorrow. They will address a wide range of different issues. Including NATO’s role in Afghanistan and we will discuss how NATO can do more to support the fight against ISIS (Daesh) and international terrorism.”

“At the same time, it is extremely important to convey a clear message to the Taliban that they have to show and demonstrate a real will and ability to reduce violence and to engage in credible peace talks,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, the New York Times on Tuesday reported that US President Trump has ‘conditionally approved’ a peace deal with the Taliban that may lead to the withdrawal of US troops as long as the Taliban can commit to a reduction in violence.

But the deal will “only be signed if the Taliban prove their commitment to a durable reduction of violence over a test period of about seven days later this month,” the report said.

If the reduction in violence is upheld, then a US-Taliban agreement is expected to lead to intra-Afghan talks, the Times reported.