NATO's Stoltenberg says plan was to build Afghan state, not to stay there forever

FILE PHOTO: Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during a joint news conference in Kabul

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO's aim in Afghanistan was to help build a viable state, not to maintain a permanent presence there, and so the government's collapse in the face of Taliban forces after 20 years is a tragedy, alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

Stoltenberg told a news conference that NATO would hold the country's new rulers accountable for the respect of human rights, including those of women.

(Reporting by John Chalmers and Sabine Siebold; editing by Francesco Guarascio)

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