NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday reiterated his calls for a “negotiated settlement” with the Taliban in Afghanistan, admitting the country faced a “deeply difficult” security situation as foreign troops left.
“The security situation in Afghanistan remains very difficult and requires a negotiated settlement. NATO will continue to support Afghanistan, including through funding, civilian presence and training abroad,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter after s’ be met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. .
Since early May, violence has escalated as the Taliban launched a massive assault just days after US-led NATO forces began a withdrawal that is now almost complete.
The deadly advance saw insurgents seize dozens of districts, border posts and surround several provincial capitals.
Fighting continues through the rugged countryside as peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have so far failed to reach an agreement to end the war.
Most of NATO’s 10,000 troops have already withdrawn from the country after President Joe Biden’s decision to repatriate troops from Washington after two decades.
The United Nations warned on Monday that Afghanistan could see the highest death toll among civilians in more than a decade if Taliban offensives across the country are not halted.
The United States descended on Afghanistan and its Taliban government in 2001 following the September 11 attacks by Al Qaeda, who had sought refuge in the country.
There are serious fears that the advance of the Taliban could see the collapse of the country and undo the tenuous gains made in 20 years of costly involvement in the country.