NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says a "negotiated settlement" is necessary in Afghanistan, as the Taliban militant group advances militarily in the country.
"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 tweeted on Tuesday after speaking to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Fighting continues in Afghanistan as peace negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban have so far failed to reach an agreement to end the war. Violence has surged since early May. The United Nations (UN) recorded nearly 2,400 Afghan civilian casualties in clashes between Taliban militants and government forces in the month of May and June alone, marking a new high in 12 years.
In a report released on Monday, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) warned that the country could see the highest number of civilians killed since it began keeping records in 2009.
US President Joe Biden has declared that the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops will be completed by the end of August, bringing 20 years of war to an end.
The United States, along with its NATO allies, invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. The invasion, which has led to the longest war in US history, removed the Taliban from power, but it worsened the security situation in the country.
The Taliban militants are now intensifying their attacks as the foreign forces complete the withdrawal. The US and its NATO allies are blamed for the surge in violence in Afghanistan, and many say the invaders have failed to stabilize the security situation in the country.
The militants are believed to control about half of Afghanistan’s roughly 400 districts.