close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Much left to be done in Afghanistan: US commander

Commander of the US Central Command, US Army General Joseph Votel. Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Washington, USA Mar 07, 2019, 09.55 PM (IST)

A top US commander on Thursday said though the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban have made considerable progress, much left to be done in war-torn Afghanistan. 

President Donald Trump's South Asia Strategy is working in Afghanistan, General Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command, told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing.

"The efforts of our Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, are demonstrating that there is a path to progress...But there is much left to do to move towards our end state of reconciliation between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban," he said.

Khalilzad is currently leading a US delegation for talks with the Taliban in Doha. US officials have indicated that progress is being made in the dialogue.

"Our military efforts are focused on supporting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANDSF) and providing Ambassador Khalilzad with the maximum military pressure and leverage to support his diplomatic efforts to establish a framework that will lead to an Afghan dialogue, a reduction in violence and ultimately a negotiated settlement," Votel said.

He also noted that Afghanistan was used as a platform to attack America in 2001, and as such, the US has an enduring vital national interest to ensure that such an incident doesn't happen again.

"Safeguarding this national interest and preventing violent extremist organisations like al-Qaeda and ISIS-Khorasan from plotting attacks against our country is also a continuing effort for our forces --- one that we will need to be prepared to address as long as violent extremists can operate from this region," the commander said. 

Story highlights

President Donald Trump's South Asia Strategy is working in Afghanistan, General Joseph Votel, Commander of the US Central Command, told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing.