ISSN 2330-717X

Pentagon Says Afghans Have Training, Capability For Stability

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By David Vergun

Afghan security forces have modern weapons — including a capable air force — training and sufficient personnel to provide security in Afghanistan, the Pentagon press secretary said.

Additionally, the U.S. continues and will continue to provide the Afghans with additional aircraft and logistical maintenance support, he added.

John F. Kirby held a press briefing Thursday, discussing Afghanistan support and U.S. troop withdrawals.

It is the will of the Afghan government to negotiate an enduring political settlement to establish peace, security and prosperity for the entire nation.

“We want all countries in the region to want the same thing that we want for the Afghans, which is peace and security and stability and an Afghan led negotiated process that leads to a political settlement. That is up to the Afghans and their future [will be] determined by them,” he said.

Since 2001, coalition forces have successfully reduced the threat to the U.S. homeland by al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, which is the reason forces were deployed there, he said.

“That’s a big reason why, in fact, the president has ordered the drawdown,” he said, noting the U.S. will closely monitor Afghanistan to ensure that the terrorism to the homeland doesn’t resurface.

Kirby said that the withdrawal of forces will allow the U.S. to focus on other terrorist and nation threats that have metastasized globally, particularly in Africa.

The U.S. and State Department are exploring over-the-horizon capability from nations neighboring Afghanistan, if needed, to assist Afghan forces, Kirby said.

Although the Defense Department has facilities throughout the Middle East, along with a carrier strike group nearby which could respond robustly if needed, having forces in closer proximity to Afghanistan would give commanders more options, he said, adding that discussions with neighboring nations are now taking place and progress is being made.

Regarding Afghan interpreters who assisted the U.S. military, Kirby said the department is exploring installations on U.S. territories, along with facilities belonging to allies and partners where these interpreters might be located as the State Department processes their immigration paperwork. However, not all of the interpreters desire to leave Afghanistan, he added.

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