Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Friday that NATO members want to stay in Afghanistan despite a looming deadline for all foreign forces to leave the country by May, as per the US-Taliban peace deal.
Ghani said he spoke with leaders of Canada, Norway, and Germany, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He said NATO is “very much interested” in staying in Afghanistan but needs US support to do so.
“But NATO, without US enablers, cannot continue its mission,” he said at an online event hosted by the Aspen Institute. Ghani also said that he urged the Biden administration to step up pressure on the Taliban and not rush to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops that Trump left in the country.
Ghani spoke with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday and said that he was reassured that the new administration is reviewing the US-Taliban peace deal. The Pentagon announced the review and said the withdrawal date is now uncertain.
The US accused the Taliban of not living up to its commitments under the deal. The Taliban rejected the accusation and said the US had been “bombarding civilians” in violation of the agreement.