Ceremony marking end of Nato mission in Afghanistan held in secret due to bomb fears, calling into question mission's success

It was decided to hold the ceremony at an undisclosed location because of the threat posed by the Taliban

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The Independent Online

The ceremony held to mark the end of the Nato mission in Afghanistan was held in secret due to bomb threats, prompting critics to question whether the allies’ objectives in the country have been met.

After 13 years of military engagement in Afghanistan, the US-led involvement in the Middle Eastern country ended on Monday on a subdued note.

With Kabul subject to repeated Taliban bombings, the authorities took the decision to conduct the closing ceremony at an undisclosed location somewhere in the capital.

The campaign has come at a heavy cost, with 3,500 foreign soldiers having died in the war and $1 trillion being spent.

 

While the mission has been largely successful in purging the Afghani government of Taliban members and reducing the group’s strength, the country is still mired in conflict.

The ceremony on Sunday, which marked the conclusion of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) Nato mission, also heralded the beginning of a new international mission called "Resolute Support".

General John Campbell, commander of Isaf, told the assembled troops and dignitaries at the ceremony: "Together, we have lifted the Afghan people out of the darkness of despair and given them hope for the future. We’re very proud of our relationship - a relationship built on trust, friendship, and shared interests.

"That trust and a common vision for a stable, secure, and unified Afghanistan fills me with confidence that we’ll continue to be successful."

But he acknowledged the difficulties that remained, and added: “The road before us remains challenging but we will triumph.”

At the conclusion of the longest war in America’s history President Obama said: “We salute every American – military and civilian, including our dedicated diplomats and development workers – who have served in Afghanistan, many on multiple tours, just as their families have sacrificed at home.”

Additional reporting AP

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