Troop withdrawal should be based on political situation in Afghanistan, US General

As US President Donald Trump is stressing on ending his country’s military presence in Afghanistan and has worked on this plan too, the Commander of American Forces in the Middle East says US forces have not yet been ordered to pull out of Afghanistan
“We have not been directed to withdraw.
There are no orders to withdraw anything,” Central Command chief General Joseph Votel told the House Armed Services Committee.
“The political conditions of where we are in the reconciliation right now don´t merit” withdrawal,” he said.After 17 years, Trump wants to end US involvement in Afghanistan, where 14,000 American troops are still deployed. But Votel said that despite some positive signs in talks between the US and the Taliban forces, there has still not been enough progress.
One ongoing problem, he noted, is that the Taliban are still unwilling to negotiate directly with the Afghan government.In addition, Afghan government troops are not yet ready to stand on their own, he said.
“These decisions have to be based more on conditions than specific times” and must “pivot off political progress.””My advice is that any decision to reduce forces in Afghanistan should be done in full consultation with our coalition partners and of course the government of Afghanistan” said US Army General Joseph Votel.
Meanwhile, a number of political experts while stressing on military presence of US in Afghanistan say Afghan Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) still need professional training and modern equipment that should be provided by US and NATO member countries to fight terrorism.
“US should provide further military equipment and professional training to ANDSF as Afghanistan needs US help and contribution. In the meantime, peace talks with the Taliban group should continue in order to end the ongoing war in the country,” an Afghan political expert Amir Mohammad said. Afghan lawmakers by praising US for continued support of ANDSF say besides supporting Afghan defense and security forces in battlefields, US should work to continue negotiations with the Taliban to end peacefully the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
“Providing further military equipment to ANDSF will change the angle of war in the country,” an Afghan lawmaker Hashimi said, adding that any decision which is made in connection with supporting and equipping ANDSF should be implemented.
Javed Kohistani, an Afghan military expert, says it is very necessary that ANDSF should be equipped with modern military equipment as the forces are fighting international terrorism day and night.
It is worth mentioning that US President Donald Trump has decided to pull a significant number of troops from Afghanistan. The US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan working either with a NATO mission to support Afghan Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) or in separate counter-terrorism operations in the country.
Suraya Raiszada

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