KABUL (Pajhwok): A senior US State Department official says about 600 American troops will stay in Afghanistan to ensure the security of the embassy, Kabul Green Zone and the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Speaking to media representatives, the US official said: “We believe that this is what is necessary to ensure the security of our people and facilities in Kabul.”
Responding to a query, he said: “I can’t give you specific number an excess of 600 troops but these are primarily people who would defend our embassy compound, green zone in Kabul and defend our facilities at the airport from potential attacks from the Taliban, Islamic State (IS), or other groups.”
On the new chapter he said: “I think what is important about the new chapter that it’s a lot like the old chapter it is robust diplomatic, economic, humanitarian and engagement by other means in support of the Afghan people.”
“The game in the last 20 years what’s different about aid that it doesn’t included a large-scale American force other than this small basic embassy security force.
“It is not an entirely different character. What the specifics are going to be, I think, is something that would play out over the coming many months — may be a year or more — and adjusting and accommodating the way our two countries deal with one another.”
He said important discussions had been ongoing with Turkey on the airport security issue.
Asked about the meeting between Ghani and the CIA director, he confirmed: “It happened and was an important part of the visit. America has substantial interests in counter-terrorism cooperation and cooperation with NDS and other institutions of the Afghan government.”
More focus would be on economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, with the security forces receiving $3.3 million annually until 2024, he said.
If the Taliban did not shun violence international pressure on them would increase, the official warned, calling the three-month extension of UN sanctions part of the pressure tactics.