NATO Chief Says Pulling Out of Afghanistan Would Be Too Risky
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Jens Stoltenberg said in Romania the cost of staying in Afghanistan was high, but the cost of walking away would be much higher.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the end of a four-day NATO parliamentary assembly in Bucharest, Romania, on Monday that “if NATO leaves too soon, we risk Afghanistan returning to a state of chaos - a safe haven for international terrorism," Associated Press reported.
"The situation in Afghanistan is challenging. We all understand the costs of staying in Afghanistan: the human cost and the financial cost. But the cost of walking away would be much higher,” Stoltenberg said.
“The last time that happened then it led to 9/11 - the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States - in which almost 3,000 people were killed. We cannot allow that to happen again and that is why we remain committed to Afghanistan,” he said.
He also said NATO does not want a "new Cold War" with Russia, despite members' concerns about the Russian military build-up close to NATO's border.
"We are concerned by... Russia's lack of transparency when it comes to military exercises," he said.
He said the 29-member alliance had increased jets patrols in the Black Sea in "response to Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine."
Later, Stoltenberg said the alliance was beefing up its presence in eastern and southeastern Europe to reassure allies in the face of Russia's actions in Ukraine.