Future of NATO’s Afghanistan mission depends on peace talks with Taliban – Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the future of the military alliance’s 15-year presence in Afghanistan will depend on the outcome of peace talks involving Taliban insurgents. The longest direct talks ever held between the United States and the Taliban concluded this week with both sides claiming progress has been made. The US envoy said they reached “draft agreements” covering the withdrawal of US troops and guarantees that Afghanistan would not become a haven for terrorists once a settlement is found, AP reports. Stoltenberg told journalists on Thursday that “the future force level of NATO troops is very much dependent of course on the outcome of those talks.” But he added: “It’s too early to pre-empt the outcome of the talks.” Few allies can conduct NATO's Afghan security training operation without US support.