Security transition doesn't mean disengagement: Crocker
KABUL (PAN): The US ambassador, reiterating his country's long-term commitment to Afghanistan, said on Sunday that security transition to Afghan forces from their international counterparts did not mean disengagement.
"We are and will remain committed to Afghanistan and the region. We are in this for the long haul. We are transitioning security responsibility to Afghan forces, but transition does not mean disengagement," he said.
Addressing an event marking the 10th death anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Ryan Crocker said Afghanistan and the US were working on a strategic partnership document that would define their relationship well beyond 2014 -- when the transition process is scheduled to be completed.
In New York on 9/11, he came up on a US Airways shuttle together with Ambassador Pearce and it was the last flight to land at LaGuardia, the diplomat recalled. A few months later, he came to Kabul to reopen the US embassy and together with American forces, they buried a piece of the World Trade Centre at a ceremony.
"For me, the last 10 years have always been about 9/11. I keep in my office in a small frame the boarding pass I had from that US Airways flight because I'm never going to forget what happened that day and I will never give up on my commitment to doing everything I can to ensure that 9/11 never happens again," the envoy said.
He paid tributes to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and American and Afghan forces for making the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism. They did not die in vain, as their sacrifice has made America, Afghanistan and the world a safer place, he said.
"Some back home have asked why we are still here. It's been a long fight and people are tired. The reason is simple. Al Qaida is not here in Afghanistan, and that is because we are. We're here so that there is never again another 9/11 coming from Afghan soil," the ambassador noted.
With their Afghan partners, Americans had figured out that the best way to ensure that was to work together and with the international community for a stable, secure, democratic Afghanistan that respected the rights of all of its citizens, especially its minorities and women, Crocker explained.
Ambassador Cunningham, some Afghan ministers, ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen, US Undersecretary of Defense Flournoy and members of US and coalition forces attended the ceremony.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.