Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Withdrawing US, NATO Troops From Afghanistan Risks '9/11' Recurrence - Pentagon

Withdrawing US, NATO Troops From Afghanistan Risks '9/11' Recurrence - Pentagon

After visiting Pakistan, the USA special envoy traveled to Kabul where he held meetings Thursday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.Khalilzad then left for Moscow for discussions with Russian officials on regional peace efforts, said the US embassy in Afghanistan.

"I have been saying this for 15 years that negotiations are the only solution to Afghan problem", said he.

Pakistan's military says it is taking "every step" required to help the United States successfully achieve a political reconciliation in Afghanistan and exit the war-shattered country "as friend of the region, not as a failure".

The size of the Taliban in Afghanistan is now estimated to be around 60,000 and they control about 44 per cent of the Afghan territory, he said, adding that it is not a good idea to leave this war-torn country at this point of time.

"Ambassador Khalilzad stressed the United States' commitment to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for worldwide terrorism and ends the 40-years-long war in the country", noted the embassy statement.

Asked why he "harboured anti-US sentiments", Khan said disagreeing with Washington's policies did not make him "anti-American".

Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the USA of "pushing Pakistan away" and said he would never want to have a relation with Washington where his country is treated like a "hired gun".

Families of Taliban leaders and fighters are believed to be residing among among almost three million Afghan refugees Pakistan still hosts. "We would like a proper relationship with the USA".

On Wednesday, he met with a USA peace envoy in Islamabad and pledged to help find a political solution to the long-running war.

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"The last thing we want is to have chaos in Afghanistan".

Defending ties with Beijing, the PM said our relationship with China is not one-dimensional.

Pakistan and its security forces are still stinging from a 2011 covert operation that involved a Pakistani doctor, an aid group and a vaccination scam to identify Osama bin Laden's home.

In a written response to a set of advance policy questions, the Marine Corps general termed the military to military relationship between the two countries strong and important strategically, given "that Pakistan is a nuclear power that sits at the nexus of Russian, Chinese, Indian and American geopolitical interests".

"We got some relief from the UAE and China but they wanted to keep it confidential".

Over 2,400 United States soldiers have perished in Afghanistan during the protracted conflict, a number that is closing in on the death toll from the attacks of September 11, 2001, which prompted the US' invasion.

"Exxon has come back to Pakistan after 27 years, and they're doing a big exploration for us".

The Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad visited Kabul on Thursday where met with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Earlier this week, PM Khan had told a group of media persons that he could change the portfolio of ministers who won't perform.

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