NATO decides to fund Afghan security forces until 2024

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis addresses a news conference during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations decided on Thursday to sustain their presence in Afghanistan and fund Afghan security forces until 2024.

“We decided to sustain our presence in Afghanistan until conditions indicate a change is appropriate,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after the organization’s two-day summit in Brussels.

“And we extended our financing for Afghan security forces through 2024. This will help them further develop their special forces and air force as they continue to fight international terrorism,” he added.

NATO also expressed strong support for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s peace proposal.

“We fully support the Afghan government’s aim of reaching an inclusive peace agreement with the Taliban,” the NATO summit’s joint statement on the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan reads.

NATO leaders in the statement reiterate their call to the Taliban to engage “credibly” in the Afghan-led peace process and stress that this is the “only pathway” to a sustainable resolution of the conflict.

“Our continued commitment will strengthen Afghanistan in its efforts to create the conditions for lasting peace and reconciliation,” said the NATO chief.