On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and reaffirmed that the alliance plans to continue supporting the Afghan government with funding and training as the Taliban is making advances.
“Good to speak with President @ashrafghani today. The security situation in #Afghanistan remains deeply challenging, and requires a negotiated settlement. #NATO will continue to support Afghanistan, including with funding; civilian presence; and out-of-country training,” Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.
The US and NATO have pledged to give the Afghan military $4 billion each year until at least 2024, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Of that sum for 2022, the US is allocating $3.3 billion from its Pentagon budget. US financial aid to Afghanistan is notoriously wasteful, and with most US forces out of the country, there will be even less oversight than before.
Besides giving money to the military, NATO also plans to train Afghan soldiers outside of the country. In June, Reuters reported that the alliance approached Qatar, hoping that the Gulf nation would allow NATO to train Afghan forces there. But at this point, it’s not clear if Doha accepted the arrangement or where NATO plans to conduct this training.
No matter how much money and training the Western powers throw at the Afghan military, their prospects on the battlefield look bleak. The Taliban has been making significant territorial gains since May. The US has responded by intensifying airstrikes in Afghanistan, and it’s not clear if this air support will continue after August 31st, the date President Biden said the withdrawal would be completed by.