US rules out change in drawdown plan post-Peshawar attack
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The White House on Tuesday ruled out any change in its drawdown plan from Afghanistan in the aftermath of the brazen terrorist attack on a Peshawar school and reiterated that it has a long-term committed to Afghanistan.
“The President is committed to ensuring that we remain on track for the responsible draw-down that the President has outlined in terms of our military presence in Afghanistan,” the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters at his daily news conference.
In response to a question, he said that the strategy or the mission that the US troops in Afghanistan were pursuing right now was one that was focused on counter-terrorism in a way that would assist the Afghan government, but also ensure the protection of American personnel that were still in that country.
“I do think that this scenario and this terrible event that occurred in Pakistan sort of highlights the violent tendencies of some of these extremist groups, which, in turn, underscores the need to do all that we can to strengthen and support Afghan security forces as they try to protect their country and their citizens from some of these extremist groups that aren't just carrying out acts of violence against Muslims in Pakistan, they're also carrying out acts of violence against Muslims in Afghanistan,” Earnest said.
The United States, he said is going to continue to stand with its partners in Afghanistan in the same way that it stands with its partners in Pakistan as well. There are varieties of reasons for that, he said.
“One is we obviously are very closely invested in the stability of Afghanistan and continuing to work with the central government that is making some important decisions that will preserve that security and making the kinds of investments that are critical to maintaining that stability,” he said. “The United States is also invested in continuing to work closely with Pakistan. We have a very important counterterrorism relationship with Pakistan, and I would anticipate that that relationship will endure, primarily because it significantly benefits the citizens of both Pakistan and the United States,” Earnest said.
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