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NATO aims to better crisis response after withdrawal from Afghanistan

Top NATO diplomats assess lessons learned from crisis in war-torn country, set new goals on last day of Riga meeting

Agnes Szucs   | 01.12.2021
NATO aims to better crisis response after withdrawal from Afghanistan

BRUSSELS

NATO aims to strengthen its crisis management tools and evacuation capacity following the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the NATO chief said on Wednesday.

NATO foreign ministers gathered on Tuesday in Latvia’s capital Riga for a two-day conference to discuss the most pressing security issues for the alliance.

On the second day of the meeting, the top diplomats discussed the lessons learned from NATO’s 20-year presence in Afghanistan, the withdrawal from the country, and the swift Taliban takeover.

“For the future, we should explore how to strengthen NATO's ability to conduct short-notice large-scale evacuation efforts” and reinforce NATO’s crisis management tools, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference to conclude the event.

As part of the assessment on the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Stoltenberg acknowledged that “the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Norway provided security and operated the (Kabul) airport under extremely challenging circumstances” to support evacuations from the country.

He also noted that NATO achieved its aim at preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism, and proved that it can conduct massive and complex crisis management operations.

At the same time, Stoltenberg admitted that they had too high ambitions in nation-building, noting that NATO has to ensure in the future that its “training efforts create more self-sustaining courses.”

On the same day, the foreign ministers also discussed the security situation in Ukraine and Georgia, as well as recent tensions in the Western Balkans.

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