President Biden’s secretary of defense Lloyd called for a reduction of violence in war-torn Afghanistan, maintaining that more progress is needed before the American troop withdraws. While talking to a news conference at Pentagon on Friday, Lloyd stated, “Clearly, the violence is too high right now, and more progress needs to be to be made in the Afghan-led negotiations.”
The comments from the top American officials come a day after discussing the situation in Afghanistan with NATO forces in Brussels. He urged all the parties in the conflict to decrease the violence and chose the road towards peace. Lloyd further warned that the Pentagon will not undertake a disorderly or hasty pullout, adding that so far, no decision about the troop withdrawal has been taken.
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Meanwhile, the current operations in the country would continue, and the commanders, as well as the troops, have the right to defend themselves in case of an attack on them, he said. Under the agreement signed by the previous Trump administration and Taliban, the US forces must withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of April.
On February 16, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban’s deputy leader, called on Washington to commit to its end of the deal and warned that it would not allow any foreign interference in the decades-long conflict that has left thousands of civilians dead. On Friday, the Pakistani ambassador to the US stated that the White House should negotiate with the Taliban on any decision regarding the troop pullout from Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the situation in Washington, DC, remains different as there are growing calls for an extension on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, citing a significant increase in violence. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers believe that the situation in the country could worsen in case of a hasty withdrawal and result in loss of progress made in the last two decades.
Currently, there is a total of 10,000 NATO and 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan. Experts suggest that an extension of withdrawal could result in tension between the White House and the Taliban and the US would need to recruit as many as 2,000 more soldiers.
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