US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan has said the US policy for Afghanistan is condition-based and not time-based.
Sullivan said the US understands that it may take a “considerable amount of time” to implement its South Asia policy and convince the Taliban back to the negotiating table, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.
The recent deadly attacks in Afghanistan will not change the US long-range strategy to convince the Taliban that there is not a military solution to the security situation in the country and ultimately peace and security of Afghanistan will be determined by peace talks, he added.
When asked about the US response to the attacks, President Donald Trump said on Monday that Washington does not want to talk with the Taliban.
Eleven army soldiers and four assailants were killed Monday after gunmen attacked an army camp in western Kabul, the seventh major attack in the country this month.
Two days earlier, a massive car bombing in central Kabul killed about 103 people and injured 235, making it the deadliest attack in months.
Noting “there’s not a change in our policy,” Sullivan explained that “the conditions of the last two weeks, the violent acts of terrorism that we have seen certainly give us pause but do not change our policy or deter us from standing with our Afghan partners.”
“We do not have time lines. This is conditions based,” he said. “We’re not setting time lines either for our withdrawal or for the implementation of peace talks.”
Sullivan visited Kabul on Monday and Tuesday, where he met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah to discuss the progress made on Afghan security, reforms, and peace initiatives, as the two countries approach the six-month mark following Trump’s announcement of the South Asia strategy last year.
The two sides also discussed the importance of holding “timely, credible, and inclusive elections,” according to a US State Department announcement.