US rules out change in withdrawal schedule
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States on Monday ruled out any change in its withdrawal schedule from Afghanistan with the White House asserting that Afghans are now solely responsible for security of their country.
“What the President has been really clear about is what our strategy in Afghanistan is; that after the end of the year, we are now in a situation where the combat mission in Afghanistan for US military personnel has ended. The Afghans are now solely responsible for the security of their country,” the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters during his daily news conference.
Responding to questions on the interview by President Ashraf Ghani in which he said that the US should consider reexamining its timetable for taking US coalition troops out of Afghanistan, Earnest ruled out any change in the withdrawal of US troops from the country. The Pentagon and the State Department echoed the White House.
“There's simply no adjustment to the milestones. But I think what's most important is that Gen. (John) Campbell has flexibility within those milestone to flow forces out at the pace that he sees most appropriate based on conditions on the ground,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters during an off camera news conference.
The State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, told reporters at her daily news conference that “we remain committed to our Afghan allies even as we draw down our troop presence in a responsible way.”
“We’ll continue work closely with the NATO and Afghan Government as we ensure that the Afghan forces have the capabilities and training necessary to preserve the gains we’ve made over the last 13 years. Clearly, we of course saw the comments (of Ghani). We’ll continue to engage with the parties, but beyond that, I don’t have anything to preview for you,” she said in response to a question.
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