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NATO Chief Assures Alliance Committed To Afghanistan

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Afghan security forces are fighting competently against the Taliban and other Islamic militants.

Stoltenberg told RFE/RL in an interview in Brussels on November 30 that Afghan military forces have "proven to be very capable and very competent" in battling Islamist fighters and that NATO will continue to "train, assist, and advise" the troops.

He said he expects NATO foreign ministers to formally approve later this week a motion to maintain the current level of troops in Afghanistan through 2016.

The NATO chief said he was told by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about the increased presence of Islamic State group militants in Afghanistan and that it is better that the Afghans are fighting IS by themselves "and that [NATO] supports them."

Stoltenberg said that despite the increased violence by Islamist groups in the northern provinces of Kunduz, Faryab, and Badakshan, the alliance is not considering establishing a new combat operation in Afghanistan.

"No one believed that this was going to be an easy task or that there was going to be peace and stability in Afghanistan [right away]," said Stoltenberg.