Blinken in Kabul: Permanent US Presence ‘Never Intended’

  • Date of Publication : 15/04/2021 at 19:23 GMT
Blinken in Kabul

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said that he visited Afghanistan because it was important to him and President Joe Biden to convey in person America’s commitment to an enduring partnership with Afghanistan and the Afghan people.

“We never intended to have a permanent military presence here. Threat from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is significantly degraded,” said Blinken.

The US top diplomat said that despite the American troops returning home from Afghanistan, the US’s partnership with Afghanistan will continue.

“By our enduing to support to Afghanistan economically, diplomatically, politically—I do want to say that as we proceed, we will remember the extraordinary courage, strength and sacrifices our troops who served in Afghanistan in the past two decades,” added Blinken.

“An now we are embarking on a new chapter in our partnership with the Afghan people,” he said.

Blinken warned the Taliban against attacking the US forces as they are withdrawing from Afghanistan—saying any attack by the Taliban will be met with forceful response.

“We will continue to support Afghan national security forces, but importantly we are doing everything we can now to advance diplomacy to bring in regional and international partners,” Blinken said.

Blinken who arrived in Kabul on Thursday met with President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation and discussed the new relationship with the US following President Joe Biden’s announcement on Wednesday.

Blinken visited Kabul hours after Biden announced the full withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan.

In this meeting with President Ghani, Blinken said: “The withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan will not mean the weakening of strategic relations between the two countries,” the Presidential Palace said.

“The United States will honor its commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan,” he said, according to the Palace.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the full withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan, who have stayed in the country for nearly 20 years, an announcement that was accompanied by concerns of plunging the war-ravaged country into a new civil war.

Biden said that it has been 10 years since Osama Bin Laden’s death, and it is time to end America’s war in the country and to bring US troops home.

“We will begin our withdrawal on May 1,” Biden said, adding that it will not be a “hasty rush to the exit,” and if the Taliban attacks, the US will defend itself and partners with “all the tools at our disposal.”