In a joint press conference with the US Secretaries of State and Defense following a virtual meeting of Allied foreign and defence ministers, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said «our drawdown will be orderly, coordinated, and deliberate«. He added: «we went into Afghanistan together, we have adjusted our posture together, and we are united in leaving together«.
Mr. Stoltenberg called the move «the start of a new chapter» in NATO’s relationship with Afghanistan, saying «Allies and partners will continue to stand with the Afghan people, but it is now for the Afghan people to build a sustainable peace». Ministers also addressed Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine, which the Secretary General called «part of a broader pattern of Russian aggressive actions». Mr. Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s strong support for Ukraine, saying «we call on Russia to de-escalate immediately»