NATO asks Qatar to provide training base for Afghan forces
NATO security officials are in talks with Qatar about providing a military base in Afghanistan to help train Afghan army units, after foreign forces withdraw from the country later this year, according to Reuters.
"We are holding talks to earmark a base in Qatar to create an exclusive training ground for senior members of the Afghan forces," said a senior Western security official in Kabul, according to Reuters.
"We have made an offer, but it is for authorities in Qatar to decide if they are comfortable with NATO using their territory as a training ground," another source based in Washington DC told the news agency.
A third diplomatic source in Kabul also said "bringing Afghan special forces to Qatar for four to six weeks of rigorous training was under discussion", according to the Reuters exclusive report.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed in a statement days ago that the withdrawal of the alliance, which began in April, from the war-torn nation "is going well, and that the withdrawal of our forces is progressing in an orderly and coordinated manner".
Qatar has in recent years hosted talks between the Taliban, the US, NATO, and other international groups' representatives.
Qatar has been home to a Taliban office since 2013, where negotiations with the US that led to the withdrawal have taken place.
The insurgent group has repeatedly made warnings that it will deal with the presence of any foreign forces on Afghan soil as an occupation.
It has overrun several provinces in the country over the last few months, targeting civilians and the Afghan military.
NATO has been present in Afghanistan for nearly two decades and plans to withdraw on 11 September this year. The more than 9,000-strong mission includes up to 2,500 American soldiers.