NATO foreign ministers will hold an emergency videoconference on Friday to discuss the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and what steps they can take, the alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
“I have convened an extraordinary virtual meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers this Friday 20 August to continue our close coordination & discuss our common approach on Afghanistan,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
The session follows an extraordinary meeting of NATO envoys on Tuesday after which Stoltenberg admitted the alliance had been caught by surprise by the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan.
He blamed Afghan leaders for the rout, saying they “failed to stand up” to the Taliban, and stressed his priority now was to evacuate NATO’s remaining 800 civilian personnel in Kabul and its Afghan employees.
Stoltenberg reiterated that all NATO countries had backed the US decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, which meant all allied soldiers that had been deployed were leaving too.
The NATO ministers’ meeting on Friday comes after the White House said US President Joe Biden had not spoken to any of his fellow world leaders -- including his NATO counterparts -- in the immediate wake of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban last weekend. He has since spoken with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has instead been the pointman in speaking with allies and would participate in Friday’s talks.
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