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Agencies
December 8, 2018

Top general warns of another 9/11 if US pulls out of Afghanistan

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A
Agencies
December 8, 2018

WASHINGTON: General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the US forces must remain in Afghanistan or terrorists might get back on their feet and launch another 9/11-scale attack on American people.

Gen Dunford, who addressed an event organized by the Washington Post, said that American military presence in Afghanistan is essential to contain terrorists who otherwise would regroup and take revenge on the US.

“Were we not to put the pressure on Al-Qaeda, ISIS (Daesh) and other groups in the region we are putting on today, it is our assessment that, in a period of time their capability would reconstitute, and they have today the intent, and in the future, they would have the capability to do what we saw on 9/11,” Dunford said in response to a question about a potential withdrawal of US forces Afghanistan.

He said that his top priority is not to ensure security and stability in Afghanistan, which has been lying in shambles as a result of the 17-year-long war, but to “make recommendations for the deployment of military force that protects the American people, the homeland and our allies. The presence that we have in Afghanistan has, in fact, disrupted the enemy’s ability to reconstitute and pose a threat to us,” Dunford said.

Earlier, the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met Friday with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and a presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov.

The ministry said that the discussions focused on the current situation in Afghanistan and possible “Russia-US cooperation as part of international efforts to help establish a direct dialogue between warring Afghan parties.”

On Thursday, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad had met with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul. The discussion centered on his regional engagement and Afghan preparations for negotiations to reach a political settlement to the conflict, the US Embassy in Kabul said in a statement.

President Ghani’s office said in the meeting, President Ghani appreciated Khalilzad’s efforts for Afghan peace and said the Afghan government announced its negotiations team at Geneva Conference on Afghanistan late last month, the statement said. “Our will for ensuring peace in Afghanistan is serious,” Ghani said as quoted in the statement. He added that the joint efforts can help Afghanistan achieve a lasting peace.

Ambassador Khalilzad started his multi-nation tour for Afghan peace this week. The trip will continue until December 20. The trip is aimed at supporting and facilitating an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan while empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate, the US Department of State said last week.

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