The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Blinken Says Troop Pullout From Afghanistan 'Doesn't Mean We're Leaving'

Sputnik News

02:48 GMT 03.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says there will still be US presence in Afghanistan after the pullout of American forces is completed.

"We've been engaged in Afghanistan for 20 years, and we sometimes forget why we went there in the first place, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11. And we did. Just because our troops are coming home doesn't mean we're leaving. We're not," Blinken said on Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes."

Blinken pointed out that the US embassy will remain in Afghanistan and the US will continue providing economic, humanitarian, and developmental support in the country.

Asked whether the Taliban could end up taking over in Afghanistan, Blinken said that "We have to be prepared for every scenario and there are a range of them."

Last week, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the US had started to pull out forces from Afghanistan. Jean-Pierre told reporters that the US Army Ranger task force would be sent to Afghanistan amid the ongoing US troop withdrawal.

Last month, US President Joe Biden announced plans to fully withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, despite the 2020 US-Taliban peace deal having set May 1, 2021 as the deadline for withdrawal. The Taliban have accused the US of violating the Doha agreement over the failed deadline and threatened to abandon inter-Afghan peace talks until all foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan. The movement also issued a warning that the non-aggression clause against US forces will become null starting May 1.

The United States and the Taliban movement signed a peace deal in Doha, Qatar, on February 29, 2020, stipulating a gradual withdrawal of US troops as well as the beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations and prisoner exchanges.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said last week that after the withdrawal of American forces there is a possibility that UN peacekeepers would be deployed in Afghanistan.

© Sputnik

Join the mailing list