Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan won’t be hasty or disorderly, says US Defence Secretary

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Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan won’t be hasty or disorderly

Washington: Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that the US will not undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, stressing that violence must decrease now in the war-torn country and more progress is needed in the Afghan-led negotiations.

NATO and the United States are facing a May 1 deadline to pull their forces from Afghanistan, but the alliance’s top official used the start of a two-day virtual meeting of the defense ministers Wednesday to push back against any set timeline.

“The problem is, to leave Afghanistan is conditions-based. Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. “[The] Taliban has to meet their commitments.”

In an interaction with reporters after the first NATO Defence Ministers meeting, he said that the Biden administration is committed to a responsible and sustainable end to the war in Afghanistan, while preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups and that threaten the interests of the United States and its allies, and ensuring a just and durable end to the long-running conflict.

NATO defense ministers are expecting to consult in more detail on the next steps in Afghanistan on Thursday, the second day of the virtual two-day conference.  

The Russian presidents special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, held a meeting with Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday in Islamabad.

Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, visited Pakistan on Friday for talks with key officials. During his meeting with Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the two discussed regional security, particularly the Afghanistan situation.

Kabulov appreciated the positive role of Pakistan to facilitate the Afghan peace process, the official statement said. Pakistan and Russia ties were also discussed as both sides reiterated the commitment to enhance the bilateral relationship.