Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
February 5, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reiterated the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan in a telephone call with President Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan leader says.
“Secretary Pompeo stressed that there is no uncertainty and ambiguity about the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan and our enduring partnership,” Ghani tweetedon February 5.
The Afghan president also quoted Pompeo as saying that “our military partnership is unwavering and will remain until a lasting and inclusive peace is achieved.”
The telephone conversation comes days after President Donald Trump made clear that he wants to reduce U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan.
In the CBS interview broadcast on February 3, Trump said U.S. troops had been in Afghanistan for nearly 19 years, and, while the outcome of ongoing peace talks with the Afghan Taliban remains to be seen, “They want peace. They’re tired. Everybody’s tired.”
The president said he planned to keep a small contingent of troops in Afghanistan for “real intelligence” purposes and said U.S. forces would return to that country if necessary.
There are currently about 11,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, where the Western-backed central government has struggled to fend off a resurgent Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO forces in 2014.