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Apr 24 2020

SACEUR, Operational Commanders conduct Virtual Operational Conference

MONS, Belgium – Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Tod D. Wolters, held a Secure Video Teleconference with the operational commanders of the NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI), the NATO operation in Kosovo (KFOR), and the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan on Friday, April 24, 2020.

The virtual meeting demonstrates Allied Command Operations (ACO) ability to continue to lead and execute ongoing and important operational missions. The call, conducted to respect current physical distancing measures across Allied nations—included U.S. General Austin Scott Miller, Resolute Support Mission (RSM) commander, Italian Major General Michele Risi, Kosovo Force (KFOR) Mission commander, and Canadian Major General Jennie Carignan, NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) commander.

Our ability to conduct operations has not been undermined

NATO continues to deliver effective deterrence and defence. “We are laser-focused on that delivery,” said General Wolters. “Our ability to conduct operations has not been undermined, our forces remain ready and our crucial work continues,” he added.

KFOR Commander Major General Michele Risi participates in a Secure Video Teleconference with Allied Command Operations operational commanders on Friday, April 24, 2020 
- Photo by KFOR Public Affairs Office

NATO is presently conducting and leading three major operations. First, and on the request of the Iraqi government, NATO agreed to establish a training and capacity building mission in Iraq in October 2018. NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) is helping to strengthen Iraqi security forces and Iraqi military education institutions so that Iraqi forces can prevent the return of ISIS/Da’esh.

Secondly, NATO has been leading the Kosovo Force (KFOR) since 1999, supporting international efforts to build peace and stability in Kosovo. Over time, as the security situation has improved, NATO has been gradually adjusting KFOR’s force posture towards a smaller and more flexible force. KFOR coordinates fully with the United Nations, the European Union and other international bodies to support the development of a peaceful, multi-ethnic Kosovo.

Third, NATO is leading the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) to help Afghan national security forces and institutions to continue developing the necessary skills and structures that will allow them to maintain security in the country. RSM does this through training, advice and assistance.

This non-combat mission was launched on Jan. 1, 2015, following on from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that was completed in Dec. 2014. At the Brussels Summit in July 2018, Allies committed to sustaining the mission until conditions indicate a change is appropriate. NATO welcomed the announcement, on Feb. 29, 2020, of significant first steps in pursuit of a peaceful settlement, paving the way for intra-Afghan negotiations between a fully inclusive Afghan national team and the Taliban to reach a comprehensive peace agreement.

Our values remain ever-important

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, NATO missions in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan continue. NATO continues to execute daily operations with measures implemented to reduce exposure and potential transmission of the virus. “Our values—individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law—remain ever-important to protect and our commitment to our partners in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq remain a major focus,” said General Tod D. Wolters.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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