WASHINGTON (AP) – Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin, at his first press convention as Pentagon chief, mentioned on Friday that progress in direction of peace in Afghanistan and the tip of US navy involvement there trusted decreasing Taliban assaults.
“The violence should lower now,” he instructed reporters.
Austin, a retired four-star Military common who oversaw US forces in Afghanistan and the Center East for 3 years underneath the Obama administration, mentioned the Biden administration was “methodically and intentionally” assessing his subsequent steps in Afghanistan, the place US troops have been current. For nearly 20 years.
America has about 2,500 troops there, and Austin has mentioned there shall be no “hasty” withdrawal.
As a part of a cope with the Taliban reached by the Trump administration a yr in the past this month, america has pledged a phased troop withdrawal, in order that by Might 1, 2021, all of the international troops would have left. For his or her half, the Taliban pledged to enter into peace talks with the Afghan authorities, finish assaults on US forces, and publicly surrender all ties to Al-Qaida and different extremist teams.
Austin urged the Taliban have been breaking their guarantees.
In remarks earlier Friday at a digital Munich safety convention assembly, President Joe Biden gave no indication of his plan for troop numbers in Afghanistan. He pledged to help the peace course of and be sure that Afghanistan doesn’t as soon as once more develop into a launching pad for worldwide terrorist assaults.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in remarks following Biden’s speech, mentioned her authorities was ready to maintain troops in Afghanistan longer if obligatory to make sure the nation doesn’t descend into chaos.
“Withdrawal shouldn’t imply that the dangerous forces are taking on,” she mentioned.
American allies in NATO now have extra troops in Afghanistan than america, and they’re awaiting Washington’s determination on whether or not to stay to the Might 1 deadline. NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg mentioned on Thursday that allies hoped for a “revitalized” peace course of that might result in a ceasefire as a step in direction of a ultimate political settlement. Aside from that, the alternatives for america and NATO are tough.
“We face very tough and tough dilemmas,” Stoltenberg instructed reporters after Austin and his fellow NATO protection ministers have been consulted by video convention. “As a result of, if we keep past Might 1, we danger extra violence, we danger extra assaults towards our personal troops, and we, in fact, additionally danger being a part of an ongoing presence in Afghanistan that shall be tough. But when we go away, we additionally danger shedding the positive factors now we have made and Afghanistan once more turning into a protected haven for worldwide terrorists. “