KABUL— President Ashraf Ghani left for yet another NATO Summit in Brussels. Afghanistan is not a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member but it has been the place of NATO operations for the last 17 years. Here are five basic things to know before the 2018 NATO Brussels’ summit:
- At this week’s NATO Summit, NATO will welcome two new troop-contributing nations, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, increasing Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan to 41 contributors.
- Resolute Support Mission was launched in January 2015 to train, advise, and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.
- President Donald Trump is critiquing NATO nations for not paying their fair share of NATO operations. NATO and its partners have already committed to providing financial support to sustain the Afghan forces until the end of 2020.
- Currently, there are almost 16,000 non-combat troops from 36 NATO Allies and partner countries in Afghanistan.
- NATO supported President Ghani’s ceasefire with the Taliban this past June. NATO supports a ceasefire with the Taliban but will continue to support U.S. counterterrorism efforts against ISIS-K, Al-Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups.
BONUS: After the United States, Turkey has the largest military as a NATO member. It is also the only Muslim country in NATO. Through NATO, Turkey has active operations in Northern Afghanistan. In the past few years, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin. For more on Turkey’s role in NATO’s operations in Afghanistan read this Afghan Herald report NATO’s Turkey in Afghanistan is needed.