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Pentagon not asked to prepare for full withdrawal

Pentagon not asked to prepare for full withdrawal

author avatar
29 Jan 2019 - 10:41
Pentagon not asked to prepare for full withdrawal
author avatar
29 Jan 2019 - 10:41

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Pentagon has not been asked to prepare a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Monday, as the White House called ending the war a priority.

Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon that the latest round of peace negotiations between the Taliban delegation and US Special Representatives for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was encouraging.

The Pentagon had not been asked to prepare for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan, he said, while answering questions on reports of negotiations between the US and Taliban in the capital of Qatar.

“Our priority is to end the war in Afghanistan and to ensure that there is never a base for terrorism in Afghanistan again,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, who met Shanahan at the Pentagon, said the alliance continued to remain with the United States in Afghanistan. “We welcome talks with Taliban,” he said. Khalilzad had briefed allies a few weeks ago in Brussels.

“The reason why NATO is in Afghanistan is to create conditions for … a peaceful solution to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists and to send a message to Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield …,” Stoltenberg said.

NATO, he added, was in Afghanistan to create conditions for a negotiated solution.  “We are there to train and assist and advise the Afghan soldiers so they can take care of security and stability in Afghanistan themselves.”

The alliance would not stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, Stoltenberg asserted. “But we will not leave before we have a situation which enables to leave or reduce the number of troops without jeopardising the main goal of our presence, and that is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists once again,” he said.

To a question, he said it was a bit too early to speculate on the result of the negotiations. “We strongly support those efforts.  Ambassador Khalilzad briefed all allies recently.  We are in close contact with the United States.  One of the issues we will discuss of course today is the peace efforts,” he concluded.

mud

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