After meeting US special envoy for peace Zalmay Khalilzad, he added the Afghan government is a legitimate elected government which has to play a key role in peace talks.
Briefing reporters in Brussels ahead of a two-day defense ministerial meeting of the military alliance, Stoltenberg said they strongly supported Afghan reconciliation that included the Afghan government.
“I know that is part of the discussion ongoing how to facilitate Afghan reconciliation, I would like to commend President Ghani for his courage and his leadership initiating the ceasefire and talks how to move forward,” the NATO chief said.
He said NATO role in Afghanistan was to train, assist and advise though the Resolute Support Mission and create condition for a peace deal and to send a message to the Taliban that they will not win on the battle field and set down at the negotiating table.
“NATO will continue to provide the support and create condition for peace,” the NATO chief reiterated, adding the situation in Afghanistan remained difficult. “But we also see efforts for peace. Allies have been kept closely updated by the United States,” he said.
About his meeting with Khalilzad, he said it was the third time in the last few weeks that they met. “It is too early to say if there will be a deal.NATO continues to help the Afghan security forces create the conditions for a peaceful solution.”
“What is clear is this: we went into Afghanistan together, and together we will determine our future posture. Based on conditions we determine with the Afghans.”
The defence ministers will meet tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to address pressing security challenges.
The violation of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) by Russia, overall NATO operations, including in Iraq will be part of discussion in the two day meeting.