“We do understand is we can never allow Afghanistan to become a platform for terrorism to operate from. And so our commitment to Afghanistan is to ensure that it never becomes a safe haven for terrorists to launch attacks against the civilized world or against any other part of the world or any of their neighbors. And so this is really a question of what is the end state and how do we reach that end state, and that’s part of the policy review that is still under development,” said Tillerson told reporters in Sydney after meeting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis emphasized the United Stated policy is under review and his country stands by Afghan people.
” As far as Afghanistan goes, as Secretary Tillerson said, the policy is under review, but at the same time we’re up against an enemy that knows that they cannot win at the ballot box, and you think – we have to sometimes remind ourselves of that reality. That’s why they use bombs, because ballots would ensure they never had a role to play, and based upon that foundation, that they cannot win the support, the affection, the respect of the Afghan people. We will stand by them. They’ve had a long, hard fight, and Australia has been in this one from the very beginning, and the fight goes on. But the bottom line is we’re not going to surrender civilization to people who cannot win at the ballot box,” Secretary Defense Mattis said.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Ann also stressed Afghanistan will never becomes safe haven for terrorists.
” I agree completely with Jim: they can’t win a ballot, so they use weapons to try and fight their way out. That’s not something we are ever prepared to see take hold in Afghanistan again,” said Australian Defense Minister Marise Ann.
This comes as US and NATO are bargaining to decide about troops level in Afghanistan.