US ready to support peace talks between Afghan Govt., Taliban
Washington D.C. [United States], Aug 22 : United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that Washington is ready to support peace talks between Afghanistan Government and the Taliban without preconditions for peace and stability in the region."We stand ready to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions. We look to the international community, particularly Afghanistan's neighbors, to join us in supporting an Afghan peace process," Tillerson said in statement on the United States' Engagement in South Asia.
Highlighting that Trump's new strategy for the U.S. approach to South Asia clearly supports the Afghan people and government, Tillerson said the Washington will continue to support the Afghan government and security forces in their fight against terrorists and prevent the reestablishment of safe havens in the country.
"We are making clear to the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield. The Taliban has a path to peace and political legitimacy through a negotiated political settlement to end the war," he said.
Asserting that Pakistan has suffered greatly from terrorism and can be an important partner in US' shared goals of peace and stability in the region, Tillerson said that Washington looks to Islamabad to take decisive action against militant groups based on its soil.
"It is vital to U.S. interests that Afghanistan and Pakistan prevent terrorist sanctuaries," he said.
He further said that India will be an important partner in the effort to ensure peace and stability in the region and welcomed New Delhi's role in supporting Afghanistan's political and economic modernisation.
The Taliban on Tuesday warned that Afghanistan would become a 'graveyard' for the United States if the latter does not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
According to media reports, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that Afghanistan will soon become another graveyard for US if America doesn´t withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
Taliban's reaction comes as United States President Donald Trump said that the US military intervention in Afghanistan will continue and 'from now on victory will have a clear definition'.
Trump, while giving an address at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, a U.S. military base adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery, proclaimed the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, saying that the objectives will include "obliterating ISIS" and "preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan."
Trump made it clear that he would not announce dates of military operations in advance and went on to say that he would not discuss troop levels or further plans for military activities.
"I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will," Trump said.
Trump further said that to achieve these goals, he would expand the authority for the U.S. to target criminal and terrorist networks in Afghanistan.
"Afghan will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed. But we will no longer use the American military to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other country in our own image," he added.
The President reached a decision on the future of the U.S. strategy after a final round of deliberations with his national security team at Camp David on Friday.
Trump's decision comes as Taliban militants have been resurgent in recent months, posting a series of recent gains against Afghan government forces, which are backed by a US-led coalition of NATO allies.
The ISIS, through a regional affiliate known as the ISIS-K, has also established a foothold in Afghanistan in recent years, carrying out a series of deadly terrorist attacks and coordinating assaults with the Taliban.
Earlier, the defence secretary, James Mattis said that he directed US military chiefs to make preparations to carry out the president's strategy.
He added that several allies of the U.S. have also committed to increasing their troop numbers in the region and together they assist the Afghan Security forces to destroy the terrorist hub.
About 8,400 U.S. troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan.
The majority of about 6,900 are assigned to the NATO mission to train and advise Afghan security forces alongside approximately 6,000 troops from other NATO countries.