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tv   NATO Secretary General Holds Briefing on Afghanistan  CSPAN  August 20, 2021 10:38am-11:07am EDT

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afghanistan that offered a series of recommendations, a number of us who stayed interested have also been offering recommendations along the way with how to go forward. and recommendations are cheap and when you do not have the responsibility anymore, it is different. i think you were on the remark that we need to call on all of the wisdom that we can get to figure out how to move forward and make it through these complex situations. this is one of them. we have dug ourselves a little hole, we need to get out and stopped heading deeper, and -- stop getting deeper and figure out how to move forward together. i hope this crisis in kabul will be a catalyst, here also, for more serious bipartisan work to take the united states ahead. host: on finding the people to give us that advice and finding
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that with them, debra >> we take you live to brussels where secretary-general jens stoltenberg is holding a news conference discussing the follow afghanistan to the taliban. >> different issues. first, the immigration of people . this is our immediate priority. nato has worked around-the-clock to maintain operations at the kabul international airport, allowing thousands to leave. around 800 nato civilian personnel have worked to keep the airport open. providing air traffic control, fuel and communications. i pay tribute to them as they work in very difficult circumstances.
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and turkey, the united states and united kingdom, and our partners and their role in securing the airport. i think all the allies who have today pledged to receive afghans at risk. second, we discussed our approach to those in kabul. the eyes of the world are on afghanistan. we expect the television to uphold their commitments and ensure afghans -- afghanistan does not become a safe haven for international terrorism. the taliban must put an end to violence around the country and uphold the rights of all afghan citizens, men, women and children. over the years nato's support of the international community has allowed afghan unprecedented
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social, economic and political progress. any afghan government that attempts to undo this progress risks international isolation. third, ministers agreed we will not allow terrorist once again from afghanistan. nato's engagement was response to terrorist attacks on united states on 9/11. our objective was to prevent terrorists from using afghanistan as a safe haven for further attacks on. no terrorist attacks on allied soil have been organized from afghanistan for the last two decades. these gains must be preserved for our own security. finally, there are hard questions we need to ask ourselves of our engagement in afghanistan. we were clear about the risks of
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withdrawing our troops, but the speed of the collapse of the afghan political and military leadership and armed forces was not anticipated. there are many lessons to be learned. i intend to conduct an assessment of nato's engagement in afghanistan. north america and europe must continue to stand together. the unfolding events in afghanistan do not change this. the shifting global balance of power, russia's aggressive actions and the rise of china make it even more important to keep a strong transatlantic bond. we all know the service of the hundreds of thousands of allies in the military and civilians who have served in afghanistan, and all the afghans who stood with us.
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with that i am ready to take your questions. >> we will go to tomas. >> thanks a lot. good evening. secretary-general, last sunday when kabul had fallen, u.s. foreign secretary blinken said the u.s. could deal with any afghan government that opposed the rights of people. today's statement from nato foreign ministers goes way beyond that, including notably rule of law as a condition. how do you explain the difference? how would you sum up your message to the taliban rulers in kabul today? that is my first question. could you please explain in which framework you extend to do this thorough investigation of the support mission?
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thank you. sec. gen. stoltenberg: first of all we discussed at the meeting today -- i raise the issue of thorough assessment in a lessons learned process. not only about the support mission but nato's total engagement in afghanistan over two decades. that started with a mission that turned into the support in 2014. we have been there for close to 20 years. we have invested a lot in afghanistan. i think we should have an honest and clear assessment of what went wrong and what we achieved. i will initiate that as soon as possible. exactly how that will be done, i
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will have to come back to that. it has brought support from allies for the assessment of the engagement to learn lessons and learn so we draw the right lessons from afghanistan. i have a humble approach. when we see the challenges, the crisis we are facing in afghanistan there are some serious lessons to be learned after two decades in afghanistan for nato. the message from all allies, the united states and what is reflected in the statement from foreign ministers today is the same. that the government, the rulers, the taliban in kabul and afghanistan, they need to live up to their international commitments.
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to not harbor support for international terrorist organizations like al qaeda and isis, to respect human rights, including the rights of women, and also to give free passage to people so they can leave the country. that also includes afghans. this has been expressed by allies, individual allies and today also in a joint statement by all nato allies coming from the meeting. >> for the next question we will go to paris. >> thank you very much. i wanted to ask whether you agreed with the statement that this was the greatest debacle in the history of nato. also whether you don't think what happened the last few days is a nail in a coffin of article five. allies can go to battle together, but once they don't withdraw together, nato has a problem.
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sec. gen. stoltenberg: this is a tragedy first and foremost for the people of afghanistan. we have been there for 20 years. we have diploid hundreds of thousands of nato troops. several thousand paid the ultimate price. hundreds of thousands of non-us allies have served alongside u.s. soldiers in afghanistan. more than 1000 paid the ultimate price. this has been a huge effort by this alliance. when the united states signed an agreement with the taliban in february of 2020, of course that it was very difficult for european allies to continue to stay. as you alluded to, we went into afghanistan as a response to an attack on the united states. when the united states decided to end its military mission there with the agreement signed
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back in february of 2020, it was no viable practical options for the other allies, european allies in kandahar to remain without united states. nato remains a strong alliance. native has implement it the biggest enforcement of our collective defense in europe since the end of the cold war. it was a clear message from the meeting today. whatever happens in afghanistan should not undermine our ability to protect nato allied countries, native allied territories, -- nato allied territories. >> the next question goes to reuters. >> mr. secretary-general, i want to ask whether you have any idea of how long you expect kabul airport to remain open and to
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continue evacuations. the second one, if i may, you think several states for security at kabul airport. amongst them turkey. could you elaborate on that one please? sec.-gen. stoltenberg: turkey has been responsible for the airport for several years. they continued to operate the airport. the big difference is because of the crisis and difficulty in immigration effort, especially the united states has deployed a large number of troops to the airport. all allies thanked today, those allies helping to operate the airport, in particular turkey, the united states, the united kingdom and others that have capabilities to run the airport. also, several hundred native
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officials are supporting -- civilian officials are helping to operate the airport in close cooperation with the united states and other nato allies. on the timeline, that was discussed during the meeting today. several allies raised the issue of extending the timeline to get more people out. the u.s. has stated the timeline ends on the 31st of august. several raised the need to extend that to get more people out. our focus is to get our own staff people -- people working for nato and nato allied countries, and also afghans.
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we are working hard to help the afghans. we have been able to get some out. we are working to get more afghans out of afghanistan. >> for the next question we go to geo tv news from pakistan. we cannot hear you. please go ahead. >> secretary-general, it seems pakistan is emerging as a -- previous majahadine.
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do you support this building by pakistan? sec.-gen. stoltenberg: what is important now is whatever new government we getting kabul, this is an inclusive government. everything that can help to support such a process i think is helpful. when it comes to pakistan, i think pakistan has a special responsibility. it is a neighbor of afghanistan. partly because of the close relationship to the taliban. i think pakistan has a special possibility to make sure -- responsibility to make sure afghanistan lives up to its international -- it lives up to international
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commitments and afghanistan does not begin become a safe haven for international terrorists. a stable afghanistan is in the interest of all countries, not least neighbors like pakistan. >> the next question goes to washington post. >> thank you. secretary-general, you warned the taliban, "they will not be recognized by the international community if they take the country by force." now that they have done that, what is nato's position on recognizing the taliban as the government of afghanistan? is recognition out of the question? is a condition done a set of criteria? does nato currently have a line of communication with the taliban? thank you. sec.-gen. stoltenberg: nato does not recognize states. nato allies can do that.
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it was stated in the meeting today that diplomatic recognition is something which is -- it has to be conditioned on how the new government behaves and to what extent they live up to their international commitments. the message is reflected in the statement agreed by foreign ministers today. that is about the need for afghanistan to live up to commitments. the commitment in the agreement with the united states signed in february of 2020, or last year, where they stated they should not support or provide safe haven for international terrorist groups like al qaeda or isis. that's a very obvious and important commission, because nato, our main task in
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afghanistan has to be to prevent the country from becoming a platform for launching terrorist attacks against our own countries. for 20 years we have prevented such attacks from afghanistan against nato allied countries. we need to preserve those gains. we discussed how we can preserve those gains, including by stating clearly to the new afghan rulers, the new government these are commitments we expect them to adhere to. it is relevant when it comes -- we expect them to live up to other commitments, including respect for human rights and the rights of women. some nato allies have not recognized the new government. partly because there is no new government to recognize. some allies, and i think it's important, they have operational
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tactical contact with the taliban. that is to ensure safe passage from the airport and someone. we had to contact the taliban, which i think is needed and important. and, diplomatic recognition. those our two different things. >> the next is from brussels this morning. >> as you know, everyone is asking about the pakistan. my question is about what is next? how do you see the future without any government? and nato has a unified commitment for afghanistan to get out the people. who can make this together? some of the nato countries could
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not send any airplanes for bringing back the afghan people. how do you minutes is kind of thing, especially for the moment with a huge -- the people are arriving at the airport? i hope in this way it becomes -- if they want to leave afghanistan, they won't leave them. thank you very much. sec.-gen. stoltenberg: in the meeting we had today it was a timely and constructive meeting on nato foreign ministers. we addressed the urgent issue. -- issue of immigration and long-term challenges, counterterrorism, a common political approach to the new rulers in kabul, and also how to
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conduct lessons learned and maintain the unity of the alliance. when it comes to the immediate and most urgent task of evacuation, i welcome the fact many allies today clearly made offers to host afghans. to receive them in their countries. so, there are many allies ready to receive either temporarily or also a permanent resettlement in nato countries. many allies sent down planes. the united states and other allies have planes in the region. many have been able to fly in and take out people from the airport.
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that is a very dire and difficult situation. some good news the allies are ready to receive. afghans are ready to send down planes and help evacuate. the big challenge is to get people on those planes. the limiting factor is not the lack of planes. the limiting factor is the ability to get people into the airport process -- airport, processed and on the planes. that was thoroughly discussed in the meeting today raised by meeting allies. they need to work harder on how we can get more people who are now outside the airport into the airport, that process, and then on to the planes. we have more planes than we have people or passengers, because the process of getting people into and afghans into the airport process is the big challenge.
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that is one of the reasons why this meeting was so important because we had 30 allies sitting around the table and on perhaps the most difficult and urgent task now, and that is to enable more people and make it possible for more people, especially afghans, to get to the airport and into the airport. >> next we would go to dpa. sorry, you had a follow-up question. >> just a small 1 -- i would like to ask about woman activists. is there any guarantee they will be safe? always support for the woman. sec.-gen. stoltenberg: nato allies are doing whatever they can to get as many people as possible out of afghanistan. we have been able to get thousands out of afghans,
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several nato allies, in particular, raised the issue of not only helping citizens from our own countries from partner nations and afghans who work with us, but afghans at risk. we face the same challenge to get these people to the airport and into the airport. that was one of the main issues discussed at the meeting today, and we are working hard on how we can make more progress on getting afghans at risk out of the airport and into the airport. >> next week go to dp--next we go to dpa. >> how many from nato still have to be evacuated, and can you tell us how many places for relocation were pledged today by allies? is it correct that there are plans to have reception centers
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for rescued afghans? sec.-gen. stoltenberg: as we are discussing different sites for temporary staging, housing areas for afghans coming out of afghanistan, and then several allies offered -- declared to resettle on a more permanent basis. the challenge now is not to find allies who are willing to perceive afghans on a temporary basis or permanent basis. the challenge is to get them to the airport and into the airport, because we have countries ready to receive, we have planes ready to transport them, and the challenge is to get them to the airport, and that was one of the main issues discussed at the meeting today. i think that in itself, that we
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have 30 allies pinpointing or making -- stating clearly and addressing and discussing how we can make progress on that issue, is important because this is an urgent need to make progress on how to get more people to the airport and into the airport. second question? >> how many afghan -- sec.-gen. stoltenberg: as well -- >> still to be evacuated, and how many for relocation -- sec.-gen. stoltenberg: we have -- nato has around 800 contractors and others who have worked for nato. that number has been reduced to a bit less than 500 at the airport and a bit less than 200 of those are afghans. those afghans who worked for nato agencies.
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on top of that you have a lot of afghans who worked for different nato-allied countries like germany, like united kingdom, and many other allies. that number is much bigger. but i know that nato allies together an individual allies are doing what they can to get all of these afghans out. >> thank you, secretary-general. do you know the extent of nato-financed arms in the hands of the taliban and if there considering destroying any vehicles. sec.-gen. stoltenberg: nato ended its military mission in afghanistan. as you know, nato allies are present at the airport. nato ended its military mission
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in afghanistan because 30 allies agreed to do so. that is a direct result of the u.s. agreement with the taliban in february 2020, where they agreed to end the u.s. presence. we have different nato allies like norway, and many other allies. they have done what they can over several months to get the soldiers out but also to take back as much equipment as possible. some equipment has been destroyed. but i don't have the exact numbers with all the different allies in afghanistan and each ally has the responsibility for its own equipment and some has been destroyed. and some is in afghanistan.
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>> thank you very much. this concludes this press conference. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> today the former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan hosts a discussion at the middle east policy council. it is live and you non-c-span, online on, or you can listen on the free c-span radio app. c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television committees and more, including buckeye broadband. ♪ >> buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service,


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