NATO held a complacent summit in Brussels two months ago. It had just started its withdrawal from Afghanistan and was targeting other latitudes: China, Russia and cyberattacks – in particular, cyberattacks with blackmail. Afghanistan was a past history, two decades after the attacks on the Twin Towers the honeymoon with the new tenant of the White House, Joe Biden, made everyone present very convinced of the decision to leave Afghanistan.
“Our mission was not to remain in Afghanistan forever,” the secretary general of the Atlantic Alliance, the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, said in Brussels on Tuesday: “But we did not imagine that the advance of the Taliban could be so fast.” In addition, Stoltenberg has made some self-criticism: “We have to continue fighting international terrorism, and one of the lessons we have to analyze is why the Afghan troops, which we have financed and trained for two decades, have not stood up to the advance. Taliban “. According to the NATO secretary general, “leadership” has been lacking.
“It was a surprise,” Stoltenberg acknowledged, “the speed of the collapse.” The situation is a “tragedy”, he said. In parallel, this Tuesday afternoon the EU Foreign Ministers analyze the events in Afghanistan.
The most tense moment of the press conference was when an Afghan journalist took the floor, who, through tears, asked Stoltenberg why the international community is leaving a country in the hands of an Islamic regime that marginalizes women. “I ask you not to recognize the Taliban regime, please,” he said through tears.
Unlike US President Joe Biden, who has said that the mission was “to fight terrorism” not “against the insurgency” or “to build a state”, Stoltenberg has affirmed that one of the missions was, precisely, prop up the “Afghan state”.
However, Stoltenberg has pointed out that the United States (initially the Government of Donald Trump) had agreed with the Taliban to withdraw in May, and after rounds of discussion in NATO: “All allies agreed to follow the decision of the United States,” he has said, to affirm: “What we have seen in the last weeks is a military and political collapse.”
“Kabul has fallen. I am deeply saddened by what I see in Afghanistan,” said the NATO secretary general.