Pompeo: Time to Get Out of Afghanistan, Reduce Our Forces to Zero
As reported by Breitbart News, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on his way to attend peace talks with the Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar that “if the Taliban follow through on their word, the United States is committed to removing all American forces from Afghanistan once and for all.”
The United States welcomes the announcement that Afghanistan peace negotiations will begin September 12. This is an historic moment and Afghanistan’s best chance at ending forty years of war and bloodshed.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 10, 2020
“Our commitment to reducing our forces to zero is conditioned on them executing their obligations under the agreement,” Pompeo said. “We’ve been very clear about their responsibilities with respect to the terrorist activity taking place in Afghanistan that is plotting external operations. It’s very clear that the violence levels have to come down to acceptable levels. We saw just yesterday or the day before there are a lot of spoilers out there. There are people who don’t want this to go forward. They want America mired in this place. They don’t want peace in Afghanistan. Most of the Afghanistan people want that. We’re going to stay focused on it. That’s where our focus—the president said, and I think General McKenzie said yesterday, that by late fall we’ll be down to roughly 4,500 U.S. soldiers. It’ll still be a significant number. I’m mindful too that it’s not just Americans who are there. There’s an enormous number of international forces who have sacrificed as well in this fight for the last 19 plus years. We want everyone to have the chance to reduce the risk and reduce the forces as well, so our movement to the appropriate levels is consistent with the two goals the president laid out when I became Secretary of State. Two goals—one, reduce our forces there. Get as close to zero as quickly as you can get to that number, and we’re intent on doing it. Second, we can’t sacrifice security for the homeland. I believe those objectives are both achievable between what we’ve done and what the Department of Defense has done over the last couple of years. We’ve made real progress on both objectives.”
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