NATO will support the Afghan government “as much as possible”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced Friday, after a meeting with NATO ambassadors in Brussels, after Washington and London decided to evacuate their nationals from Kabul, that the alliance would support the Afghan government "as much as possible" and "adapt" its diplomatic presence. .
"NATO allies are deeply concerned by the high levels of violence caused by the Taliban offensive, in particular attacks on civilians, targeted assassinations and information about other grave human rights abuses," Stoltenberg said in a statement.
"It is Vietnam in all its aspects," a representative of a member state told AFP, referring to the specter of the fall of Saigon in 1975. Another commented: "The situation is catastrophic."
Stoltenberg called the meeting after the United States decided to evacuate its diplomats and citizens from Afghanistan.
A diplomatic source clarified that the "evacuation process" was at the center of the discussions, with the options and military adaptations required to accomplish this.
But no decision was taken during the meeting. One of the participants explained that the discussions regarding the situation were "realistic."
A European source said the alliance wanted to ensure the safety of its civilian representative in Kabul, Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo and his team. Nine countries in the European Union that are also members of NATO, in addition to the representation of the European Union, kept their embassies in Kabul.
On Thursday, the United States announced it was sending thousands of troops to Kabul to evacuate diplomats and other nationals as the Taliban advanced rapidly towards the Afghan capital. London, in turn, said it was preparing to send 600 soldiers.
"It is also related to the security of Kabul airport," a diplomat said, noting that Turkey had proposed this task, while Norway would operate the central hospital in Kabul.
For his part, a European diplomatic source said that the situation in Afghanistan will be at the forefront of the topics discussed in an informal meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of the European Union on the second and third of September in Slovenia.
On Thursday, European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell threatened the Taliban with international "isolation" if they took power "by force" in Afghanistan, bearing in mind that the European Union is the most prominent provider of humanitarian assistance and development in this country.
During Friday's meeting, each NATO member country presented a plan to evacuate its diplomatic staff and nationals. A diplomat said, "What is required is to determine who will undertake this, when to do it, how and the nature of support to get the matter done."
"We need an enabling environment to carry out these operations as they should. But so far it is the big mystery.”
The rebels captured Lakshkarakah (south), the capital of Helmand province, hours after they seized Kandahar, the second largest Afghan city, 150 km to the east. They had taken control of Buli Alam, which is only fifty kilometers south of Kabul.
Taliban fighters now control about half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals.

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