Washington [US]: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday (local time) talked to Afghan President Ghani and discussed the current security situation in the country and the US plans to reduce America’s civilian footprint in Kabul.
Blinken also affirmed that the US is committed to supporting a diplomatic solution to the conflict and enduring partnership with the Afghan people. “@SecDef and I spoke with @ashrafghani to discuss the current security situation and the US plans to reduce our civilian footprint in Kabul. I affirmed that the US is committed to supporting a diplomatic solution to the conflict and to our enduring partnership with the Afghan people,” tweeted Blinken.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price too confirmed the talks with President Ghani.
“Secretary of State Antony J Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III spoke today with President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani to stress that the United States remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban,” said Price.
“Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin informed President Ghani that the United States is reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation and will accelerate the tempo of Special Immigration Visa (SIV) flights,” added Price.
Both Secretaries emphasized that the United States remains committed to maintaining a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan.
During the call, Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, and President Ghani exchanged views on the security environment in Afghanistan, efforts to curb violence, and ongoing diplomatic efforts.
“Secretary Blinken affirmed that the United States remained committed to supporting a political solution to the conflict,” said Price.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense on Thursday (local time) announced that it will be sending three infantry battalions – two Marine, one Army — currently in the US Central Command area of responsibility within two days to Afghanistan to evacuate embassy staff from Kabul.
“3 infantry battalions to move to Kabul airport in the next 24-48 hours. That is roughly 3,000 troops,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby in a briefing.
The move comes as the embassy urges American citizens in Afghanistan to leave the country ‘immediately’.
The move comes amid a Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. Many are surprised at the speed with which the terrorist outfit is capturing the provinces in the country.