US shifting to new relationship with Afghanistan: Austin
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said that the US is seeking a new chapter of relationship with Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American forces from the country in September as ordered by President Biden.
“The President has decided to end America’s involvement in our longest war and we are going do just that, and so far, less than one weakened, the drawdown is going according to plan, at the same time, we are shifting to a new bilateral relationship with our Afghan security partners. We will work toward our common goals in some new and different ways,” Austin said at a joint press conference with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The Afghan National Security Forces and the government of Afghanistan at this time remain cohesive. The president of United States intent is to continue to support both the ANSF and the government of Afghanistan,” said Milley.
Secretary Austin meanwhile reiterated that the US will remain committed to its supports to Afghanistan.
“We will continue to support them after we retrograde with funding, with logistics, we will remain partners with the Afghan government, with the Afghan military and certainly we hope to our continued support to Afghan security forces,” added Austin.
But, Gen. David Howell Petraeus, the former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, has said that with the drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan, the Afghan security forces will face problems in it comes to using equipment and helicopters.
“Helicopters that we have sold to Afghanistan or given to them with our security assistance, various other weapons systems and so forth, again they don’t have logistical system, the maintenance system,” said Petraeus.