February 10, 2017
Kabul says it supports a call by the commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan for more foreign troops to advise the country’s security forces.
US Army General John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on Thursday that there was “a shortfall of a few thousand” troops in the advisory mission.
“I have adequate resourcing in my counterterrorism mission,” the US military official said.
US President Donald Trump and his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, recently discussed security, counterterrorism cooperation and economic development in a phone call, which was the first conversation between the two sides since Trump’s inauguration last month.
Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry, said on Friday that Nicholson’s suggestion was “good step” toward fighting militant groups in Afghanistan.
“The Afghan Defense Ministry supports any decision taken between the Afghan and American governments.”
“This is a joint battle against terrorism and we support any possible way to tackle terrorism in the country,” the Afghan official added.
The Taliban militant group has reacted to the possibility of more foreign troops in Afghanistan. The group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said it was “nothing more than a dream.”
“We have experienced large numbers of invader forces in our country. This will be nothing more than suffering and more casualties,” the Taliban spokesman said.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, triggering a war that has killed thousands and cost tens of billions of dollars.
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