NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that the North Atlantic alliance will continue to assist the Afghan national security forces with both military advice and training, as well as with financing, during a press conference in Brussels, Thursday. He also suggested the creation of a "new enduring partnership which will be a combination of a civilian-led mission but also with military elements." The re-assessment of NATO's role in Afghanistan follows the US bombing of a hospital in Kunduz during heavy fighting in the area. "What is certain is that we will continue to support the Afghans but we are constantly assessing in what form and in what way we will do that. In addition to helping the Afghan national security forces with advice and training we will also continue to fund the Afghan national army and security forces," he said. Answering a question on whether NATO will extend its mission in Afghanistan after the US bombing of the Kunduz hospital, Stoltenberg said that a "final" decision had not been made. "We will assess the situation in Afghanistan and also the need for NATO presence based on military advice. We will assess both the security situation but also capacities and the capabilities of the Afghan national security forces. And based on those assessments we will make our decisions," he stated. Defence ministers of all 28 member states of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) gathered for a meeting in Brussels on Thursday that Stoltenberg will head. The fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Russia’s air strikes in Syria are expected to be high on the agenda.
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