US Defense Secretary Austin signals to slow down withdrawal from Afghanistan
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that violence is still widespread in Afghanistan and more progress must be made in peace negotiations, and stated that the US will not be in a hurry to withdraw from Afghanistan
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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a press conference at the Pentagon after the NATO Defense Ministers Meeting.
Stating that they also discussed the developments in Afghanistan with NATO allies, Austin said that the US is determined to end the war in Afghanistan permanently, but at the same time, they will pay attention to the fact that the country is not a security area for terrorist organizations.
“We are doing a comprehensive inter-agency review of the situation in Afghanistan, including the consequences of our actions, with all the options. We are aware of the upcoming dates. But we want to do it in a purposeful and specific method. I don’t want to say anything before the decisions to be made here, also to the President.” I don’t want to summarize my advice either. Frankly, the violence is still too much. Much more progress must be made in negotiations between Afghans. ” he spoke.
Calling on the parties to take the path of peace and to reduce violence, Austin said, “Whatever the outcome of our investigation, the United States will not hastily and irregularly withdraw from Afghanistan, which would put their forces at risk and damage the Alliance’s reputation. I said. It will not be a surprise. We will consult everything, make decisions together, act together. ” said.
The USA made an agreement with the Taliban on February 29, 2020, and reduced the number of soldiers in Afghanistan to 2,500 as of January 15, 2021.
According to the agreement, the US is expected to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan as of May. However, right after the Biden administration took office on January 20, it started an investigation into the situation of the US forces in this country, especially the agreement with the Taliban.