US rules out change in Afghan strategy
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US President Barack Obama is open to the idea of tailoring his Afghan strategy based on advice from his commanders, the White House said Monday but ruled out any change in the strategy as such.
“The strategy that the president has laid out is one that he continues to have confidence in. But the president continues to be open to taking advice from his military leadership, from the senior members of his national security team, to tailor that strategy to reflect the situation on the ground,” the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters at his daily news conference.
Ahead of President Ashraf Ghani’s US trip, Earnest said the US President has been very clear about what he believes the US strategy in Afghanistan should be, which is he has sought the responsible drawdown of US military personnel from Afghanistan.
“This strategy has been done in careful consultation with our military leaders, including our generals on the ground. It’s been done in careful consultation with other senior members of the President’s national security team, including National Security Council staff here at the White House, as well as our diplomats and our intelligence officers,” he said.
He said that “we’ve also worked carefully with the Afghan government. Because ultimately, there has been a partnership, useful partnership between the United States and the broader international community and the Afghan government as that government and their security forces have taken on more responsibility for securing their own country,” he said.
Earnest said there continue to be around 10,000 US military personnel in Afghanistan fulfilling two important functions. The first is carrying out counterterrorism operations where necessary, but also continuing to partner with Afghan security forces to train, advise, and equip them, he added.
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