NATO officials have approached Qatar regarding the possible use of a base where Afghan special forces could be trained following the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan by September 11, Reuters has reported.
Neither Qatar nor NATO officials have commented on the reported discussions, the news agency added.
“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,” an unnamed security source based in Washington DC told Reuters.
Four to Six Weeks Training Planned
The news outlet further revealed, citing sources, that four to six weeks of rigorous training of Afghan special forces in Qatar was “under discussion.”
The commitment to train Afghan forces is part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission launched in 2015 following the completion of the International Security Assistance Force mission in the country.
“We are holding talks to earmark a base in Qatar to create an exclusive training ground for senior members of the Afghan forces,” an unnamed senior Western security official in Kabul told Reuters.
Strike Capabilities in Afghanistan Post Withdrawal
Meanwhile, the US Air Force is preparing for “over-the-horizon” strike capabilities in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of international coalition troops from the country, Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth revealed earlier this month.
The air force is seeking $10 billion from Congress for its presence across the Middle East.
“We have a series of air bases, they will stay for the time being, that’s where your over-the-horizon capability will come from,” Roth said.
Reacting to news that NATO is planning to train Afghan security forces, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said: “In the case of Afghan soldiers who receive military training abroad… If peace is established then maybe the well-trained should be hired to serve Afghanistan but if they come and fight against us and their nation, then, of course, they will not be trusted by us.”
Around 2,500 US troops and 7,000 international coalition personnel, from NATO countries and also from Australia, New Zealand, and Georgia, are still left in Afghanistan.