The NATO civilian representative on the military mission in Afghanistan, Cornelius Zimmermann, welcomed Portugal’s commitment to stabilizing and developing that country, which has been reaffirmed by Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa in Kabul.
Ambassador Zimmermann said that he welcomed “the reaffirmation of Portugal’s commitment to continue supporting the process of development and support of the Afghan Armed Forces and Security.”
Following a meeting with Prime Minister António Costa and National Defense Minister João Gomes Cravinho at NATO’s “Resolut Support” headquarters, Zimmermann welcomed the Portuguese contribution, through troops on the ground from the Hamid Karzai airport], and training and counseling of Afghan military personnel, notably at the Kabul artillery school.
The NATO mission, he said, “is the key to ensuring that local forces can successfully provide for security and stability in their own country,” stressing that “an unstable Afghanistan means insecurity” for the allies.
The aim of the mission, he stressed, is “to ensure that Afghanistan will not once again become a” safe heaven “for international terrorism.
According to Zimmermann, at the meeting, the last point of António Costa’s visit to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, was discussed the “need to advance political commitment before what appears to be a window of opportunity for successful peace negotiations.”
António Costa, who was also received by NATO’s civilian representative, Ambassador Zimmerman, highlighted the role of the NATO mission in “stabilizing and pacifying” Afghanistan since 2001, following the terrorist attack on the United States on 11 September of that year, and that, according to international organizations, has already made more than 70,000 dead, including more than two thousand American soldiers.
NATO’s civilian representative in Kabul takes the lead in the political component of Resolut Support, linking the Atlantic Alliance, the Afghan government, representatives of the international community and neighboring countries.
Legislative elections in Afghanistan in October were marked by more than 50 deaths and 379 injured, according to the UN, in the deadliest vote in the country.
According to official statistics, about 4.2 million people voted during these elections, among the nearly nine million registered voters.
A few days before the election, the Taliban asked voters to stay home and candidates withdrawing from the race, threatening to attack polling stations.
Official source of the `Resolute Suport’ mission stressed that despite threats, NATO values the commitment of citizens who have chosen to vote, in what it considers a significant political signal for terrorist groups.
The ‘Resolute Support Mission’ began in 2015 in the fight against terrorism, and is aimed at training, advising and supporting the military and security forces and strengthening the institutions of Afghanistan, currently counting some 16,000 soldiers from 41 countries.
RS succeeded ISAF (International Security Support Force) in which Portugal participated with about 3,200 military personnel in 12 years.
NATO has been in Afghanistan for a UN mandate since 2003, at the request of the United States, following the terrorist attack there on 11 September 2001.