US wants regular military contacts with Pakistan, says NATO chief

DailyTimes  |  Nov 27, 2021

On Saturday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has maintained that the US wants to keep military contacts with Pakistan and the recent visit to NATO Headquarters by a high-level Pakistani military delegation was a part of that process.

The NATO chief was answering a question when asked ‘a high-level military delegation from Pakistan visited NATO Headquarters. What are the state of relations between NATO and Pakistan, particularly regarding Afghanistan? Additionally, will you lend support to Afghan people if there is humanitarian aid required?’.

The NATO Secretary-General said: “The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire, dire, and very difficult and this is of course of great concern for all of us. And winter is coming. And we know that many people are at risk of suffering and having a very difficult time throughout the winter.

“Therefore, I welcome that many NATO Allies are providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, through the UN, and through different relief organizations. I think this is extremely important and something which demonstrates the will, and the commitment, of NATO Allies to continue to support the people of Afghanistan.

“This is something they do through the UN, and different bilateral arrangements, and relief organizations. And I think that’s the best… of organizing these kinds of humanitarian support to the people of Afghanistan.”

Regarding Pakistan, Jens Stoltenberg said “When it comes to Pakistan, NATO has had regular contacts with Pakistan for many, many years. Of course, not least discussing the situation in Afghanistan. We have political contacts, we have regular military contacts and dialogue and I think this is important that this continues, because there are still many challenges in the region, especially related to the future of Afghanistan.”

Russia to face music if force used on Ukraine

Russia will face the music if it uses its military on Ukraine, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday as he expressed worries about Moscow’s buildup of forces on the border.

It is “clear that if Russia uses force against Ukraine, that will have costs, that will have consequences,” he told a media conference.

Stoltenberg said a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Latvia’s capital Riga next week would address the massing of Russian military units on the border, which provides “very strong reasons to be deeply concerned”.

“This is the second time this year that Russia has amassed a large and unusual concentration of forces in the region,” he said, listing “heavy capabilities like tanks, artillery armored units, drones, and electronic warfare systems as well as combat-ready troops”.

Stoltenberg called the military buildup “unprovoked and unexplained” and warned “it raises tensions and it risks miscalculations”.

Moscow has denounced as Western “hysteria” the concerns that it might be planning to invade Ukraine, part of which — Crimea — it annexed in 2014.

The new buildup of Russian forces follows a similar surge in April, when Russia gathered around 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders.

Stoltenberg said that, although Ukraine is not a member of NATO and did not come under its collective defense pact, the alliance would “send a clear message to Russia that NATO is there to defend and protect all allies”.

“We need to make sure that there is no misunderstanding, no room for miscalculation, about NATO’s resolve, capability and will to defend all NATO allies,” he said.

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