US asks European allies to maintain their commitment in Afghanistan
Washington: The US wants its European partners to continue to maintain their commitment in Afghanistan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, calling it essential for the success of President Donald Trump's South Asia Policy.
The purpose of America's new South Asia strategy is to destroy terrorist safe havens and deny their re-establishment while the Afghan government continues to strengthen its own capacity to maintain security and create the conditions for reconciliation with the Taliban and an inclusive government that accounts for the ethnic diversity of all Afghans, Tillerson said.
"We recognise the important contributions of our NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) allies that have been made in Afghanistan, and we ask them to maintain their commitment to the mission," Tillerson said in a major foreign policy speech on Europe ahead of his visit to the region.
Many allies remain uncertain about the Trump administration's commitments to their security, even though Trump has softened his positions since early in his term when he questioned whether NATO countries were pulling their weight in defending themselves. "We know this will take time. But if we fail to exercise vigilance and undertake action against the terrorist threat, wherever it is found, we risk re-creating the safe havens from which the 9/11 plot was hatched and carried out," he said.
The new policy directions will better position the US and Europe to confront the challenges that threaten our prosperity, the actors that seek to sow chaos and instill doubt in our laws and institutions, and the enemies that threaten our security and oppose our way of life, he added.
As such, Tillerson urged "proportionate contributions" of troops, funds, and other forms of assistance as it seeks to eradicate a terrorist threat that will not be confined to the place where it was born.
NATO's Resolute Support mission is essential to our shared goal of ensuring that Afghanistan develops the capability to contribute to regional stability and prevail over terrorist threats, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.