According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, it is now up to the Afghans to bring about lasting peace in their country. According to him, this requires a comprehensive peace treaty: “That puts an end to violence; protects the human rights of all Afghans and in particular women, children, minorities; that upholds the rule of law; and that will ensure that Afghanistan will never again serve as a safe haven for terrorists. ”
US President Joe Biden announced the US withdrawal, saying: “It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for our troops to come home. ” Earlier he had been in contact with his predecessor George W. Bush who had sent the first soldiers. It has taken long enough, Biden said. “I am now the fourth US president to oversee the US military presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not transfer this responsibility to a fifth. ”
Afghanistan must also receive support after the withdrawal, so that the security gains achieved over the past twenty years are not lost, said outgoing foreign minister Stef Blok on Wednesday at the extra-scheduled meeting of the NATO Council, a report shows.
The minister said that after twenty years of NATO presence, Afghanistan is no longer a base for international terrorism. Countries must pay attention to this, Blok emphasized.
The US, like NATO, will begin its final withdrawal on May 1. “It will not be a hasty sprint to the exit. We will do it responsibly, thoughtfully and safely, and we will do it in full cooperation with our allies and partners, who now have more troops in Afghanistan than we do, ”said Biden.
The departure from Afghanistan, where the mastermind of the Osama bin Laden attacks had initially entrenched, does not mean the end of the fight against terrorism, according to Biden. The US will continue to work to make sure it doesn’t re-emerge. Now America’s focus on terrorist threats is needed elsewhere. And an increasingly assertive China also requires extra attention, according to the president.
Biden did stress that the US will continue to support the Afghan people through development projects, humanitarian aid and security support. Washington and NATO also warned the Taliban not to attack international forces.
The Taliban reject the schedule of the withdrawal of foreign military personnel from Afghanistan. The radical Islamic movement is sticking to the May 1 date agreed with the US last year by which all foreigners must be gone. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants the withdrawal of all foreign troops from our homeland by the date set in the Doha Agreement,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Wednesday. He warned that breaking the Doha Agreement will have consequences.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke words of reassurance for the future ahead of Biden’s speech on Wednesday. “The proud security and defense forces are fully capable of protecting the country and its people, something they have always done and for which the Afghan nation will always be grateful.”