US defence secretary warns of tough fighting season this year
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The current year will be a tough fighting season in Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has warned, hinting at a long military presence in the country.
He had shared his concerns about 2016 being a tough fighting season with President Ashraf Ghani last week, the defense secretary told a Pentagon media briefing.
“He (Ghani) fully understands that, as does the CEO, (Abdullah). Now, it’s going to be tough, there’s no question about it … we’re expecting a tough fighting season ahead,” Carter added.
Carter told a questioner the present rules of engagement in Afghanistan allow US troops to do what they thought was necessary. President Obama has adjusted plans for US military engagement in Afghanistan.
He said: “The president has made a commitment, and all the coalition members have to stick with Afghanistan. That’s not just for the year 2016. It’s the year 2017 and beyond.”
Reminded of media report the US might keep its troops in Afghanistan for decades, Carter said: “I don’t know about decades, but I’ll tell you one very positive thing about a presence in that part of the world. Here we have a government that welcomes a presence by the United States.”
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