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US seeks long-term partnership with Afghanistan

US seeks long-term partnership with Afghanistan

May 06, 2017 - 08:43

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Under a new strategy, the Trump administration will have a long-term engagement with Afghanistaninfo-icon and possible deployment of more troops to the country.

“We want to maintain the partnership with Afghanistan and we want to ensure that Afghanistan reaches its potential. That’s the objective of the strategy,” the assistant secretary of defence said.

In a testimony before the Senate on Thursday, Theresa Whelan called Afghanistan a very important partner for the United States. The Pentagon is to present a revised Afghan war plan to President Donald Trump next week.

Whelan and Gen. Ray­mond Thomas, commander of US Special Operations Command, told the Senate the new policy would include major adjustments to the existing plans for defeating the Talibaninfo-icon and other militants,

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted the assistant secretary as saying: “We are actively looking at adjustments to the approach in Afghanistan right now. I expect these proposals will go to the president within the next week.”

Senator Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, underlined the need to move beyond anything that stalemated the US in Afghanistan. “This is an important fight that we need to win and there’s every reason that we should be able to do that.

John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, reminded Gen Thomas that in his testimony before this panel earlier this year he had admitted reaching a stalemate in Afghanistan.

The general replied: “We are aware of Commander Nicholson’s description of the current status of the fight as a stalemate. I recently returned from Afghanistan, it is admittedly a very tough fight. We are in the beginning of another fight season.”

Senator McCain reminded him that he was under oath to share his view with the panel and asked him again: “What do you think needs to be done (to break the stalemate)?”

In response, Thomas said he believed the critical factor in Afghanistan was the US commitment to “a sound, enduring state” there, which he said, was “not described effectively” in the past.

“I think our new strategy is going to establish that definition,” the general said, adding the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan was being considered.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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