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Hungary to Comply with NATO Decision on Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.04.15.

Hungary will comply with NATO‘s decision concerning a military pullout from Afghanistan, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, told MTI before a special ministerial session of NATO on Wednesday.

Szijjártó said he agreed with the approach that the simultaneous entry of NATO troops into Afghanistan should be followed by their simultaneous withdrawal.

Hungary used to station 120 to 130 soldiers in Afghanistan while its present contingent has nine members, he said.

Szijjártó said NATO should pass a decision which guarantees that the efforts of the past twenty years do not go to waste.

He stressed the need of guarantees so that Afghanistan should not become once again a hotbed of terrorism and a source of massive migration. If Afghans are again exposed to the threat of terrorism, hundreds of thousands or even millions of them may leave their homeland, he said.

Szijjártó insisted that Afghanistan’s neighbours willing to cooperate with NATO, such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, should be assisted in defending their borders.

He said NATO should cooperate with Iran so as to prevent the flow of migrants through that country to Europe.

Afghanistan’s security is more directly connected with European security than one may think, he said. The European NATO allies also need guarantees for preventing a growing threat of terrorism and new waves of illegal migration, he said.

In a move to help maintain stability within Afghanistan, Hungary will continue to support the Afghan security and defence forces with half a million dollars a year up until 2024, Szijjártó said.

featured image: FM Szijjártó with secretary general of NATO Jens Stoltenberg in 2018 (illustration); via MTI/KKM/Mitko Sztojcsev