NATO Allies to Withdraw Forces from Afghanistan

Joint press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. Photo: NATO
Joint press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. Photo: NATO

Ministers also addressed Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine.

NATO Allies decided on April 14 to start withdrawing forces from the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan by May 1, with plans to complete the drawdown of all troops within a few months.

In a joint press conference with the US Secretaries of State and Defense following a virtual meeting of Allied foreign and defence ministers, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “our drawdown will be orderly, coordinated, and deliberate”. He added: “we went into Afghanistan together, we have adjusted our posture together, and we are united in leaving together”.

Mr. Stoltenberg called the move “the start of a new chapter” in NATO’s relationship with Afghanistan, saying “Allies and partners will continue to stand with the Afghan people, but it is now for the Afghan people to build a sustainable peace”. 

Ministers also addressed Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine, which the Secretary General called “part of a broader pattern of Russian aggressive actions”. 

Mr. Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s strong support for Ukraine, saying “we call on Russia to de-escalate immediately”

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