Security Tight as NATO Role Ends
KABUL – Security in the Afghan capital Kabul was tight on Sunday (December 28) ahead of a ceremony set to mark the end of NATO combat missions in the country.
The ceremony will formally draw to a close 13 years of combat operations in the conflict in the country, which have left the country in the grip of worsening insurgent violence.
Police armed with automatic weapons were seen searching vehicles and individuals on the streets, a day after Afghanistan’s NATO-led foreign force mistakenly killed three civilians in an air strike, Afghan officials said on Saturday (December 27).
The mistaken killing of civilians in air strikes has been a source of anger throughout the force’s mission, frequently straining ties between the NATO force and the government.
The latest incident took place in Logar province just south of the capital, Kabul, on Friday (December 26), and it involved nomads who had clashed in a dispute over land, according to provincial officials.
The Secretary General for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has issued a statement:
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. It 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.
Many challenges remain, and there is much work still to do. The Afghan security forces will continue to need our help as they develop.
Our new mission, “Resolute Support,” will bring together around 12,000 men and women from NATO Allies and 14 partner nations. The mission is based on a request from the Afghan government and the Status of Forces Agreement between NATO and Afghanistan. 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.
We will also contribute to the financing of the Afghan security forces, and build an Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan which reflects our joint interests, shapes our joint cooperation and contributes to our shared security.
For over a decade, NATO and our partners have stood with Afghanistan. 51 nations have contributed forces to our 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. The mandate of the United Nations Security Council was to help the Afghan authorities provide security across the country and develop new Afghan forces.
This mandate was carried out at great cost, but with great success. We will always remember the sacrifice of international and Afghan forces, who deserve our respect and our gratitude.
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.