The United States salutes the courage and sacrifices of the Afghan security forces and all those countries who are advising and supporting the efforts of the Afghan people.
As President Trump noted, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – the worst in the history of the United States – were planned and directed from an Afghanistan ruled by a Taliban regime that gave support and shelter to terrorists. Today the goal remains the same:to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used as a safe haven for terrorist groups to attack the United States, the region, or the international community, said U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells.
The South Asia Strategy President Trump announced is a conditions-based strategy that makes clear to the Taliban that they will not achieve a military victory on the battlefield, but must come to the negotiating table with the Afghan government.
The onus of responsibility is now on the Taliban to demonstrate that they are ready to talk to the sovereign and legitimate government and people of Afghanistan.
The U.S. position is unambiguous, said Ambassador Wells. “We recognize the only way to end the conflict is through a negotiated settlement.The United States will support direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban when both sides commit to them.”
President Ghani has made clear that the Afghan people are ready for peace, but some things are not negotiable: the Afghan people will not sacrifice their safety, legal protections, or human rights to achieve peace.They will not return to the oppression and isolation of the late 1990s. Afghan men and women must remain free to speak their minds, choose their leaders, and help shape government reforms.
The international community stands behind President Ghani and the people of Afghanistan. The United States fully supports timely, credible, and transparent elections in 2018 and 2019 as essential to meeting the expectations of the Afghan people.
The United States calls on all friends of Afghanistan to fully support the Afghan government and its vision for peace. Continuing a campaign of violence will never win the Taliban the support of the Afghan people and the legitimacy of the international community. It will only continue to discredit them and their cause.