NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said the alliance’s leaders confirmed that NATO will continue providing the Afghan military with training after foreign troops pull out of Afghanistan.
“NATO leaders reaffirmed their commitment to continue to stand with Afghanistan with training and financial support for Afghan forces and institutions,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO summit in Brussels.
“Our military mission, the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, will end. But of course, we can train Afghan forces in other countries, and we’re looking into how we can provide that kind of support,” he added.
According to a report from Reuters, NATO approached Qatar and is hoping to secure a base in the Gulf country where it can train the Afghan military. “We are holding talks to earmark a base in Qatar to create an exclusive training ground for senior members of the Afghan forces,” an unnamed Western security official told Reuters.
The training that could happen in Qatar would focus on special forces. The Reuters report said the US, UK, and Turkey are among the countries that are ready to send a force to train Afghans in Qatar.
Both the US and NATO plan to continue supporting the Afghan military financially. President Biden’s military budget request for 2022 earmarks $3.3 billion in aid for Afghan forces, a $300 million increase from 2021.
According to the Pentagon, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is over 50 percent complete. While the withdrawal appears to be moving along, the US and NATO want to keep a diplomatic presence, which they will likely use to justify a small troop presence. The Western powers are hoping Turkish troops will secure the Kabul airport for this purpose. But the Taliban has rejected the plan and made it clear they view any continued presence of foreign troops as a violation of the Doha agreement that paved the way for the withdrawal.