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NATO defense heads agreed on new capability targets

Defense chiefs of NATO members discuss withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russia's nuclear threat, says head of alliance

Agnes Szucs   | 21.10.2021
NATO defense heads agreed on new capability targets The flags of members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are seen at the Headquarter of NATO in Brussels, Belgium. ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

BRUSSELS

The defense chiefs of NATO member countries agreed on a new set of capability targets on Thursday, the head of the alliance announced.

Speaking to reporters after the first day of talks, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO defense ministers took decisions that helped the alliance's "adaptation to a more complex and competitive world" and its efforts to ensure credible deterrence capabilities.

The ministers endorsed "a new overarching plan to defend our lines in crisis and conflict" and set new capability targets, Stoltenberg said.

"We have agreed to deliver more forces with higher readiness. We have agreed to have more forces which are heavier and with more high-end capabilities and technological advance."

The defense chiefs confirmed that the alliance would continue to respond to Russia's nuclear threat with balanced political and military measures.

"We will not mirror Russia's destabilizing behavior. We have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe," Stoltenberg pointed out, stressing NATO's commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The officials in the meeting also assessed the lessons learned from NATO's 20-year presence and withdrawal from Afghanistan and discussed how to prevent the country from becoming a base for international terrorism.

"The crisis in Afghanistan does not change the need for Europe and North America to stand together in NATO facing growing global challenges," Stoltenberg pointed out.

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