On-track transition needs teamwork: Pentagon
WASHINGTON (PAN): The Pentagon on Tuesday said the US and Afghanistan were required to work together to keep the transition process on track, taking a strong issue with the notion that the Americans were somehow colluding with the Taliban.
"The important thing in our relationship with Afghanistan is to work together. We do have common cause and we need to work hand in hand to make sure the transition stays on track,” Press Secretary George Little told reporters at a news conference.
When asked about the recent alleged anti-US rhetoric by President Hamid Karzai, Little said: “When there are issues in any relationship, our belief is that we can work through those issues if we handle it the right way.”
He said defense secretary Chuck Hagel and Karzai had a very frank and open discussion about a range of issues in Kabul.
“The secretary looks forward to regularly engaging with President Karzai to talk about the transition process and to define in clearer terms how we can work together to ensure that we are taking the fight to the enemy, that we are addressing the challenges that confront us both." he said.
He noted Karzai and Hagel had been friends for a long time and that there was an opportunity to carry the relationship forward. “There must be that opportunity. We have 66,000 troops in Afghanistan. We have coalition partners in Afghanistan. We're fighting alongside Afghans, who are making great sacrifices to protect their own country,” he said.
The Pentagon spokesman believed issues between the two sides could be resolved if they worked together as partners. "We think we can get through them, and then focus on the common cause that we both devoted ourselves to.”
On the transfer of the Parwan detention center, Little said the US was committed to that, but did not give a time line.
However, President Karzai, who travelled to southern Helmand province on Tuesday said the handover of the Bagram jail would take place next week.
“As you may have learned over the weekend, there was a decision to delay the transfer of the detention facility. We greatly respect Afghan sovereignty,” the Pentagon official said.
He said the US realised the transfer as an important part of its commitment to the Afghan partners.
"We remain committed to the transfer of the detention facility. We're working through some technicalities in the agreement, and we hope to be able to transfer the facility to the Afghans as soon as possible,” Little said.
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