NATO Senior Civilian Representative for Afghanistan, Nicolas Kay, said that international forces will remain in Afghanistan even after a peace agreement in order to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
His comments come two days after Reuters cited some unnamed Taliban members saying the US will cease its support to Afghan forces once a peace deal is signed.
Mr. Kay said NATO will also help the Afghan government and the country’s election management body in holding the presidential election scheduled for September 28.
Addressing the Model United Nations meeting in Kabul on Wednesday, Mr. Kay said there is a need for NATO military presence in Afghanistan until all threats are eliminated from the country.
“Let me assure you very very clearly, NATO is not leaving, NATO is committed to staying and supporting Afghan national defense and security forces,” Mr. Kay said.
While Washington’s peace efforts with the Taliban have raised skepticisms on whether the Afghan presidential election will be held in the specific timeline, the NATO envoy said the alliance will fully support Afghans to conduct the polls.
“Let me be clear on the NATO position, our NATO task is to support the security for the elections, and we are supporting Afghan national security and defense forces prepare for elections on the 28 of September,” he said.
He also said that the alliance will work together with Afghans to protect the gains the country has made in its strides towards democracy such as human rights, civil liberties, women’s rights, strengthening of the role of women and the youths in the peace process.
“The main discussion of the committee is on peace and security,” said Rahmatullah Hamdard, an event organizer.
“Efforts are underway so that the elections are held on time,” said Mirza Mohammad Haqparast, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission.