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NATO rules out return to combat operations

NATO rules out return to combat operations

Nov 06, 2017 - 12:32

KABUL (Pajhwok): Afghanistan, where NATO troops train and advise the national security forces, remains a priority, the alliance said on Monday -- ahead of an important ministerial meeting.

Defence ministers from member states, scheduled to meet in Brussels on November 7 and 8, are expected to take a series of decisions to ensure NATO’s capability of protecting citizens at a time of evolving security challenges.

“There will be a dedicated meeting with all NATO allies, plus all Resolute Support operational partners and Afghanistan’s acting minister of defence,” NATO's deputy spokesperson said.

In response to an email from Pajhwok Afghan News, Piers Cazalet said UN and EU representatives had also been invited to attend the meeting.

“Many Allies have already committed to deploying more troops to our Resolute Support Mission. We expect further progress on staffing the mission,” he said.

The troop increase would help the mission we support the Afghan partners in the most effective way, he said, stressing: “That does not mean NATO will return to combat operations in Afghanistan."

High on the agenda is an expected decision to develop NATO’s command structure -- which is made up of the alliance’s military headquarters – with additional focus on the North Atlantic, and on the ability to move troops and materiel across Europe.

As cyber attacks become more common, the defence ministers would discuss how the alliance could make the best use of allies’ own cyber capabilities in NATO operations, he added.

Challenges to global security, including North Korea and the threat posed by its illegal nuclear weapons programmes, will also come up for discussion.