False - February 2, 2021

NATO yet to decide on troops withdrawal, Reuters report misleading

KABUL (Pajhwok): NATO in a statement on Monday categorically rejected Reuter’s reports on its troops stay in Afghanistan beyond May this year and termed it as misleading.

The alliance in a statement said: “No decision has been made. NATO defence ministers will address Afghanistan at their meeting on February 17-18.”

Reuters Report:

On Sunday Reuters quoted NATO sources saying: “There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,”

“Conditions have not been met,” he said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “And with the new U.S. administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy.”

Afghanistan based #Tolo News TV also on its twitter account also quoted NATO spokesperson rejecting the Reuters report and said that defense ministers of the alliance will discuss Afghanistan in the future meeting.

Earlier, the Taliban Qatar Officer Member Abbas Stanikzai in Moscow told reporters that according to the Taliban, US agreement foreign forces should withdraw by May this year and the US should help remove the Taliban leaders name from the UN black list and ensure that remaining Taliban prisoners are freed.

In the meantime, the Taliban had been accused for violating the Doha Pact by not reducing violent attacks and lack of progress in intra- Afghan talks.

This comes at a time when the new US administration had said they were reviewing the previous administration agreement with the Taliban and to see if the group had reduced violence and cut ties with its terrorist organizations.

Fact Check:

“No decision has been made. NATO defence ministers will address Afghanistan at their meeting on February 17-18,” NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu told Pajhwok Afghan News.

NATO in a statement said:  “The alliance fully supports the Afghanistan peace process, in order to ensure that Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists that would attack our homelands. We continue to call on all sides to seize this historic opportunity for peace.”

“The Taliban must respect their commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence, and to engage in meaningful negotiations. Taliban violence continues to undermine the peace process, and it must end.

“NATO’s mission remains unchanged. We continue to support the Afghan security forces in their fight against terrorism and to secure their country. Currently, the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission includes around 10,000 troops, a large majority of whom are non-US.”

“No NATO Ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, but we have been clear that our presence remains conditions-based. Allies continue to assess the overall situation, and to consult on the way forward.”

Conclusion: Since NATO officially rejected the Reuters report and clarified that the alliance defence ministers will discuss Afghanistan in coming meeting.

Verdict: Misleading

Javed Hamim Kakar

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