US remains committed to maintain strong relationship with Afghan govt

F.P. Report

WASHINGTON: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Thursday with President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani to stress the United States remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban.

Secretary Austin and Secretary Blinken informed President Ghani the United States is reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation, and will accelerate Special Immigration Visa (SIV) flights.

Secretary Austin also informed President Ghani the U.S. military would be temporarily deploying a number of troops to the region to facilitate the safe and orderly reduction of our civilian personnel.

The Secretaries both emphasized the United States remains committed to maintaining a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

During the call, Secretary Austin, Secretary Blinken, and President Ghani exchanged views on the security environment in Afghanistan, efforts to curb violence, and ongoing diplomatic efforts. President Ghani shared his appreciation for the United States’ continued support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and the Afghan people.

Secretary Austin reaffirmed that a unified Afghanistan and cohesive ANDSF is the linchpin of peace and security in the face of a heavy fighting season.