US military vows to stand with Afghan government amid troop withdrawal

Salaam Times and AFP

Afghan security forces take part in an operation against Taliban militants in Sarkari Bagh, Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, November 2. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

Afghan security forces take part in an operation against Taliban militants in Sarkari Bagh, Arghandab District, Kandahar Province, November 2. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

WASHINGTON -- The US military will continue providing support to the Afghan government toward a negotiated settlement for peace, US officials say, even as plans call for a reduction of US troops in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday (November 17) its intention to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Afghanistan, reducing the total number to 2,500 by January 15.

US Acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller said that he spoke with President Ashraf Ghani, "who expressed his gratitude for every American service member who has fought for peace and strengthened the longstanding friendship between our countries".

"President Ghani highlighted the caliber of our troops, which he noted has always been more important than the quantity," Miller told reporters at the Pentagon.

"We continue to stand with him as his government works toward a negotiated settlement for peace," he said.

"Both sides talked about the peace process, strengthening mutual relations and continued meaningful US military support to the Afghan Security and Defence Forces," Ghani's office said in statement November 17.

US military officials have said the remaining US forces in Afghanistan will be mission-focused on countering extremist groups that threaten Afghanistan and countries around the world, and on supporting Afghan forces.

"I have not seen anything to suggest that foreign troops will fully withdraw from Afghanistan," Afghan Acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid told lawmakers November 17.

"If for any reason foreign troops leave the country, at the moment 96% of military operations are being conducted by our own army," he said. "Only in 4% of our operations do we have air support from our international allies."

"We are not worried," Khalid said of a possible foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. "We are ready to defend our country independently."

"Our transport and fighter aircraft have the capabilities to help us fight the enemy on every front, and the delivery of new aircraft to us continues," he said. "A few days ago, we received four aircraft from NATO."

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The United States must resolve the issue of war in Afghanistan. The United States’ government has been with the Afghan government for twenty years, but the war has not decreased, and the Taliban is getting stronger day by day. When the United States has not been able to destroy the Taliban in war, at least this country can ensure peace in Afghanistan. America is the superpower of the world; it has money and it has influence over all the Arab countries, Pakistan and India. Why it can’t secure Afghanistan with its money and influence. Ashraf Ghani released 5,000 dangerous Taliban prisoners with a phone call given to him by Trump, and when Trump arrived at Bagram, he asked Ashraf Ghani to go to Bagram, and Ashraf Ghani was standing like an ordinary soldier in the line of American soldiers. Now he can also tell Ashraf Ghani to step down from power for the sake of peace of the country and establish in an interim government. Then peace will come in this country. Peace will not come when America both signs a war ending agreement with the Taliban, and stands beside the Afghan government, and the Taliban victimize Afghan security forces on a daily basis. America must end the war of Afghanistan before it withdraws, and establish an inclusive government in this country, which is acceptable to all groups and ethnic groups and no one is dissatisfied. This changing of the system must end the war in Afghanistan forever. If America included Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami in Bonn conference, there