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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

    Stoltenberg Rules Out New Combat Operation in Afghanistan

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    NATO will not launch a new combat operation in Afghanistan, although it will continue to support the country's government in its battle against insurgency, the military bloc’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Afghanistan has recently seen a resurgence in violence after the Taliban captured large areas of land in the north. The United States, Germany and Britain volunteered to stay in the country past the initial pullout date.

    Speaking at a press conference in Spain, Secretary General Stoltenberg said that he welcomed the will of NATO allies and partners to continue their presence, but stressed that "We will not go into a new combat operation."

    "We ended the combat operation at the end of last year, but what we have decided is to continue the Resolute Support Mission… and the question is how we do that, with what kind of troops and for how long," he went on to say.

    The non-combat Resolute Support Mission was launched in January 2015 to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.

    NATO’s presence in Afghanistan will be a key topic at the upcoming meeting of the military bloc's foreign ministers on December 1-2.

    The Taliban has been on the offensive for the past several months, launching attacks on urban centers from its rural strongholds. In late September, Taliban militants seized the northern city of Kunduz and have been threatening to storm the provincial capital of Ghazni, south of Kabul.

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