World Bulletin / News Desk
Trump announced early Monday the U.S. would not commit to any timetable to end its military presence in Afghanistan where it has been bogged down for the better part of two decades.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, ousting the Taliban after it gave sanctuary to now deceased al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. But recent years have seen the Taliban and other armed groups grow in strength as the U.S.-backed central government in Kabul struggles to assert its authority across the country it nominally controls. The U.S. currently has about 8,400 troops in the country.
Trump said the U.S. would continue its cooperation with Kabul "as long as we see determination and progress", but warned American support "is not a blank check".
The American president further called out Pakistan, saying it provides "safe havens for terrorist organizations" that have contributed to the ongoing tumult in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah welcomed the new regional policy.
“This strategy renewed the commitment of the United States of America to Afghanistan and to our people. It is a better chapter now,” Abdullah told a news conference in Afghan capital Kabul, parts of which were also posted on his official Twitter account.
He said Afghan leaders had detailed conversations with Trump’s national security team ahead of the conclusion of the new strategy.
He said the decision to not impose a timeline on the presence of U.S. troops was correct. “Decision based on conditions [rather] than timelines is a very important message for our partners and our enemies. It is that we will definitely win.”
About ISIL, Abdullah said: “The new and strong stance against Islamic State provides unique opportunity to destroy this terrorist group and root them up in this area.”