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US to retain laser focus on counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, says President Biden

Secretary of State Blinken met NATO allies Friday on the way forward to ensure Afghanistan is not used as a base to launch terror attacks on the US and its allies, Biden added.

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Washington DC: The United States is going to retain a laser focus on its counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said Friday and warned the Taliban of a forceful response to any attack on American forces or disruption of its operations at the Kabul airport.

We made clear to the Taliban that any attack, any attack on our forces or disruption of our operations at the airport will be met with a swift and forceful response,”Biden told reporters at a White House news conference.

“We’re also keeping a close watch on any potential terrorist threat at or around the airport, including from the ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan,” he said.

“I’ve said all along, we’re going to retain a laser focus on our counterterrorism mission, working in close coordination with our allies and our partners and all those who have an interest in ensuring stability in the region,” Biden said.

He said Secretary of State Tony Blinken and other administration officials met NATO allies Friday morning on the way forward so that Afghanistan cannot be used as a base to launch terror attack on the US and its allies.

“For 20 years, Afghanistan has been a joint effort with our NATO allies. We went in together and we’re leaving again. Now we’re working together to bring our people and our Afghan partners to safety,” he said.

Over the past few days, Biden said, he has spoken to his counterparts in Britain, Germany, and France.

“We all agreed that we should convene, and we will convene the G7 meeting next week, a group of the world’s leading democracies so that together we can coordinate our mutual approach, our united approach on Afghanistan moving forward,” he said.

We are united with our closest partners to execute a mission at hand. We’ve also discussed the need to work with the international community to provide humanitarian assistance such as food aid and medical care for refugees who have crossed into neighboring countries to escape the Taliban, and to bring international pressure on the Taliban with respect to the treatment of Afghan people overall, but including Afghan, particularly, women and girls, he added.

Responding to a question, Biden said so far he has not heard any ally questioning America’s credibility.

“I’ve spoken with our NATO allies. We’ve spoken with NATO allies, the Secretary of State. Our national security advisor has been in contact with his counterparts throughout the world and our allies, as has the general–or, excuse me, I keep calling him a general, but my Secretary of Defense. The fact of the matter is I have not seen that, he said.

Matter of fact, the exact opposite. I’ve got the exact opposite thing as we’re acting with dispatch, we’re acting, committing to what we said we would do. Look, let’s put this thing in perspective here. What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with al-Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as getting Osama bin Laden, and we did, Biden said.

We went and did the mission. You’ve known my position for a long, long time. It’s time to end this war. The estimates of the cost of this war over the last 20 years range from a minimum of USD1 trillion to a think tank at one of the universities saying USD2 trillion. That somewhere between USD150 million a day and USD300 million a day, he said.

The threat from terrorism has metastasized, he said, adding there’s a greater danger from the ISIS and the al-Qaeda and all these affiliates in other countries by far than there is from Afghanistan, Biden said.

“We are going to retain an over the horizon capability that, if they were to come back, to be able to take them out, surgically move. So this is where we should be. This is about America leading the world at all our allies have agreed with that, he said. — PTI


Also read: Inept presidents, clueless policy: From Bush to Biden, America is a hegemon in retreat


 

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