Threat from Afghan-Pak region continues: Gen. Dunford
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A top Pentagon general on Tuesday called for maintaining ‘an effective counter-terrorism platform and partner in Afghanistan,’ given that the threat from the region continues.
“While the fight against ISIL (Daesh) dominates the headlines, we also continue to face an extremist challenge in the homeland and our interest in South Asia,” Gen Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Washington audience.
He said the constant pressure they maintained on Al Qaeda in (the Afghanistan-Pakistan) region over the past 14 years had prevented another 9/11, but the threat had not been eliminated.
“And of course, I’m talking about largely the Afghanistan-Pakistan region,” the Marine general said in his remarks to a top American think-tank, CSIS.
He said the continued threat required maintaining an effective counterterrorism partner and platform in Afghanistan.
“While the focus has been on Al Qaeda, we have certainly seen recently the rise of the Islamic State in the Khorasan, and we’re also dealing with that. That has further complicated the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Dunford said.
He said the current US mission in Afghanistan was designed to further enable Afghan security forces and also to demonstrate America’s enduring commitment to the region.
“The good news is President Ghani's administration is fully supportive of a US and NATO presence, and is an opportunity to strengthen the long-term strategic partnership that we’re going to need to achieve our common objectives,” Dunford said.
He said the US relationship with the incumbent Afghan government had made it much easier for Washington to move forward and for the two countries to identify common objectives.
He said last summer highlighted the Afghan forces continued to need American support to build their capacity specifically in areas like logistics, special operations, aviation capability. “There is no question about it, there is much, much work to be done in those areas,” he felt.
“That's really the focus of what's called, Resolute Support, which is the NATO mission that is ongoing right now, which is focused on training, advising, assisting and developing Afghan capability in those specific, functional areas,” Dunford said.
According to the American General, the commitment of the international community to the Afghans' future is also important to success, and in particular, the funding for the Afghan Security Forces.
On the upcoming NATO conference in Poland this summer, he said one of the key issues to be addressed was continuing international support and the funding to push the horizon out for the Afghan forces past 2020. “This is very important.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.