India, other countries must shoulder fight against militants: Trump
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that other countries must assume the battle against extremists as his country negotiates a withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Trump administration has reduced the US military presence in Syria and Iraq and is negotiating a withdrawal from Afghanistan with the Taliban insurgents.
But defense experts warn that a vacuum left by the United States could allow an extremist resurgence.
“Other countries must assume the battle against extremists as the US negotiates a withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Trump told reporters. “At a certain point Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, they are going to have to fight their battles too.”
However, Trump singled out India and Pakistan as frontline countries that are doing little to fight militant groups.
“Look, India’s right there, they are not fighting it, we’re fighting it. Pakistan is next door. They’re fighting it, very little…. it’s not fair. The United States is seven thousand miles away,” he added.
Earlier, the White House had signalled in preparations for a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying that discussions between President Trump and top advisers went “very well.”
“Discussions centred around our ongoing negotiations and eventual peace and reconciliation agreement with the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan. The meeting went very well, and negotiations are proceeding,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
Expectations are rising for a deal in which the United States would start withdrawing its 14,000 soldiers from Afghanistan after a two-decade war that has turned into a stalemate.
Washington is keen to end its involvement in Afghanistan, where it has spent more than $1 trillion and Trump has said since the start of his presidency that he wants troops out.
In return, the Taliban would commit to various security guarantees, including that the hardliners who long harboured Al-Qaeda would not allow Afghanistan to become a militant safe haven.
A US-Taliban agreement would not in itself bring Afghanistan’s war to an end, as the insurgents would still need to make a deal with the US-backed Kabul government.
“In continued close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, we remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement,” Pompeo said in a statement.
This would include “a reduction in violence and a ceasefire, ensuring that Afghan soil is never again used to threaten the United States or her allies, and bringing Afghans together to work towards peace.”