Obama mulling troop presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The White House on Wednesday praised the working of the national unity government, headed by President Ashraf Ghani, in its first year despite some testing times.
Last month marked the one year anniversary of the creation of the government, which moved swiftly to sign the bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan, the White House press secretary said.
Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news briefing on Wednesday: “Over the last year, US military personnel and the Afghan government have been testing this partnership.”
President Ghani and CEO Abdullah had been effective interlocutors in trying to support the Afghan government and the security forces as they discharged the responsibility they had to provide for the security of their country, Earnest said.
President Barack Obama was looking at the possibilities of a long-term large presence of American troops in the country beyond 2016, he suggested, but quickly noted that no decision had been made yet.
“The reason that the United States got involved in Afghanistan in the first place was because of the concern about the threat of terrorists that have been operating in Afghanistan and in the region,” he recalled.
The US, he claimed, had made important progress against extremists in Afghanistan. “However, there continues to be a terror threat emanating from Afghanistan. It's not on the same scale of what -- of the risk, pre-9/11, but it's still a risk that we do not take lightly.”
It was essential to preserve counter-terrorism capabilities inside Afghanistan because of the impact that would have on the stability of the government and on the core national security interests of the US, Earnest maintained.
“There is an upcoming policy decision that the president has to make about our ongoing military posture inside of Afghanistan,” he concluded.
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