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NATO rep in Afghanistan calls on ‘all’ to help close extremists’ sanctuaries

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NATO SCR Zimmerman | Here for the long haul.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) in Afghanistan, Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann on Tuesday reportedly called on all “regional actors” to help promote regional stability and seriously act to shut down sanctuaries for extremist groups. 

He said the Afghan authorities committed to implement an ambitious reform process in areas of counter-corruption, human rights, gender equality, the rule of law and good governance at last year’s Warsaw Summit. Mr Zimmerman said progress had been made in these domains, but more had to be done so that the National Unity Government could become — and must be seen as — the better alternative.

Mr Zimmerman said the new US policy demonstrated its clear long-term commitment to Afghanistan in line with NATO’s policy. He said the western military alliance was committed to supporting Afghanistan and Afghan security forces in their ongoing efforts to protect all Afghans and ensure lasting security in Afghanistan. He said NATO was focused on continuing the development of the Afghan Special Forces and the Afghan Air Force as long as NATO’s efforts were matched by the Afghan government.

He said about what is seen as focus on the war and fighting in Afghanistan in the new American strategy instead of a political solution, the NATO rep said it was true that sustainable peace could not be brought about through military means without an inclusive political settlement.

About President Trump’s blaming Pakistan for supporting terrorists and giving them sanctuary, Ambassador Zimmermann said that’s why NATO lay emphasis on “all regional actors” to play a constructive role in promoting regional stability and urged them to do their utmost to shut down sanctuaries for extremist groups. He said Afghanistan’s neighbours must understand that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in their own interest.

Ambassador Zimmermann said about protests by some Afghan political parties and lawmakers from the Opposition on the surge in foreign troop numbers, that discussion and debate were healthy in a democracy and NATO was one of Afghanistan’s “most steadfast and committed partners” supporting the Afghan population by helping build the capacities of the Afghan security forces for many years.


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