Progress made in Afghanistan: White House
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States has made significant progress in the war against terror in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban government in late 2001, the White House said on Tuesday.
"While we have made tremendous progress in disrupting, dismantling, and defeating Al Qaeda operations and leadership in Afghanistan, and progress in winding down US involvement in that conflict..." the White House press secretary said.
Josh Earnest, addressing a news conference, condemned the killing of US Major General Harold J Greene, the highest ranking official the US military lost in a terrorist attack on a military base near Kabul.
Afghanistan remained a dangerous place, the press secretary acknowledged, insisting that the US had been successful in preventing the country from being used as a launching pad for terror attacks against the United States.
"The military operation that has been underway in Afghanistan for more than a dozen years now has been devoted to ensuring that terrorists could never again use Afghanistan as a base of operation to launch large-scale attacks against Americans in the US or anywhere around the world," he asserted.
"What the president has said is that at the beginning of 2015, the US will have approximately 9,800 service personnel in different parts of the country and will be serving alongside our NATO allies and partners. By the end of 2015, we’ll have reduced that presence by roughly half..."
By the end of 2016, he explained, the US would draw down to the kind of normal embassy presence, along with a security assistance component to ensure the safety of American personnel in Afghanistan.
But all of that was contingent upon the signing of the bilateral security agreement that had been agreed to, he noted. "But this is why we have been focused on ensuring a proper, but hopefully prompt, resolution of the Afghan election so that the new Afghan president can take office and sign the bilateral security agreement."
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