The Taliban must not allow Afghanistan to become a breeding ground for terrorism again, NATO said on Tuesday, warning that after its withdrawal, the alliance still has the military power to attack any terrorist group from a distance.
“Those who come to power now have a responsibility to ensure that international terrorists do not gain a foothold,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters during his first press conference since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
“We have the capabilities to attack terrorist groups from a distance if we see terrorist groups trying to resettle and planning and organizing attacks against NATO allies and their countries,” he added.
The fight against Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks and led by the Taliban, was the main reason for the West’s intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 in what was NATO’s first major operation outside of Afghanistan. would be Europe.
But when the alliance wrapped up military operations this summer after nearly two decades, the Taliban advanced rapidly, capturing the largest cities in days.
The sudden takeover of the capital, Kabul, has sent thousands of people fleeing to the city’s airport, which is still in the hands of the US military, desperate for evacuation flights.
In Brussels, a female Afghan journalist on the verge of tears asked Stoltenberg what the West would do for all the vulnerable in her country, leaving the NATO chief visibly moved.
Stoltenberg called on the Taliban to facilitate the departure of anyone who wants to leave the country, and said Western defense allies had pledged to send more evacuation planes to Kabul.
At the same time, he expressed his frustration with the Afghan leadership and blamed it on the easy success of the Taliban.
“Some of the Afghan security forces have fought bravely,” Stoltenberg said. “But they were unable to secure the country because the Afghan political leadership ultimately failed to stand up to the Taliban and achieve the peaceful solution the Afghans so desperately wanted.”
(This story was not edited by NewsMadura staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)