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Rasmussen: 'NATO has achieved its goals'

As western troops prepare to withdraw, NATO's secretary general discusses the alliance's future role in Afghanistan.

Last Modified: 06 Nov 2013 11:54
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After 12 years of NATO troops on the ground, Afghanistan is still far from being a peaceful and stable place.

And yet, the NATO alliance is getting ready to pull out. In 2014, their troops will withdraw from the frontlines, but will they stay on in a training mission?

With just over a year to go before withdrawal, there is still no definitive agreement with the Afghan government on it.

I would expect a 'Status of Forces Agreement' to be negotiated and concluded in the wake of a bilateral Afghan-US security agreement… It's a prerequisite for our continual presence that the legal framework is in place… If we can't agree on it, then of course, we can't deploy troops and trainers to Afghanistan. This would be an unfortunate scenario.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary general

But Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary general, says: "We have seen concrete progress in regards to the legal framework for our future presence in Afghanistan. And we know for sure we'll still be there after 2014 - provided of course that the Afghan government invites us to stay. We are prepared to establish a training mission to train, advice, assist the Afghan security forces after 2014."

There is also no definitive conclusion as to whether NATO’s mission in Afghanistan has been a success. The Afghan leadership has in fact criticised NATO operations.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai angered western leaders earlier this year when he dismissed the NATO results, saying "The entire NATO exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life and no gains."

Recently US Secretary of State John Kerry also stated that if the issue of jurisdiction cannot be resolved "then unfortunately there cannot be a bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the US", something on which NATO presence hinges.

In other places, like in Libya, the NATO was instrumental in overthrowing the Gaddafi regime. But Libya remains unstable and there are reports that Libya has asked NATO for help.

In Syria, al-Qaeda affiliated groups are now based along the border with Turkey, a member of NATO. So would NATO automatically come to Turkey’s defence should the country be attacked from inside Syria?

So, what is NATO's future role in Afghanistan? Will NATO and Afghan leaders agree on a cooperation plan post-withdrawal? Or could the Taliban take over in Afghanistan once the western troops have left?

On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discusses NATO's Afghanistan mission, its future presence in the country, and NATO’s role in other parts of the world.

This episode of Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen from September 30 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 1930; and Monday: 1430.  

Watch more Talk to Al Jazeera 


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