NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that NATO forces went to Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from using the country’s territory for more attacks.
Stoltenberg made the comments at the NATO foreign ministers meeting being held in Riga, Latvia. Topics discussed included a range of issues including the Ukraine, Belarus and Afghanistan.
NATO foreign ministers on Wednesday discussed a lessons-learned report about NATO's two-decade presence in Afghanistan.
“NATO went into Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from using the country again to attack us,” Stoltenberg said, but despite that “we must recognize that, over the years, the international community set a level of ambition that went well beyond the original aim of fighting terrorism,” he added.
Islamic Emirate officials responded by speaking of the human toll.
“During the last 20-year war, many people were martyred in Afghanistan and the other side also lost lives in the war,” said Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.
“NATO and its allies made many mistakes in Afghanistan and now they are worried about a regional superpowers in Afghanistan; because of this, they hold meetings to satisfy NATO’s members to build a mechanism to cooperate with the new government in Afghanistan,” said Jawed Sangdel, a political expert.
NATO took over the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003, almost two years after a US-led coalition invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban.