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NATO defense chiefs reaffirmed commitment to a continued Afghan training mission beyond 2014 during a summit meeting of alliance defense ministers and heads of states last week in Wales. "The Afghan people, and we, can be justifiably proud of our collective achievements to date," said NATO Military Committee Chairman Danish Gen. Knud Bartels in a May 21 release. "The Taliban have failed to disrupt the first round of [Afghan] presidential elections in April. That was a clear blow to them … and it reflects that the Afghan National Security Forces are very capable of dealing with the security situation" underscoring the benefit of continued alliance assistance, he added. Bartels stressed the need for NATO members to stop skimping on defense spending in light of recent threats to European security from Russia. "Investments cost money but the price for insecurity is much more expensive and we all agree to that," he said.