The Secretary of State noted that he does not consider the military presence an indicator that determines the degree of US involvement.
The United States is only strengthening its interaction with Kabul and Baghdad, despite the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the termination of its combat mission in Iraq. This was stated on Thursday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an interview with Sky News Arabia. The text was distributed by the press service of the State Department.
Blinken was asked to comment on the concerns of US allies in the relevant regions in connection with the curtailment of the US military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. “I think it is a mistake to equate involvement with the degree of our military presence in any particular place. We continue to have a strong presence in the region and will continue to do so, and we are committed to protecting our allies and partners. This will not change. My definition of engagement is much broader than the number of troops that we have in one particular place. This includes economic involvement, diplomatic involvement, and political involvement, and all this is only getting stronger, including here in the Middle East,” Blinken replied.
According to the Secretary of State, the United States “generally succeeded in achieving its goals” in Afghanistan, which were to “bring justice to those who committed an attack” on the United States during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as “make sure that this never happens again from Afghan territory.” “Although we are withdrawing our troops, we are very much involved in Afghanistan, we support Afghanistan from an economic point of view, provide development assistance, provide humanitarian assistance, support to their security forces, and are also involved diplomatically to try to bring the parties [to the conflict] to the negotiating table,” the diplomat stressed.
The same, according to him, applies to cooperation with Iraq. “We have pervasive relations with Iraq from an economic, diplomatic, and political point of view,” he said. The Secretary of State again added that he does not consider the military presence an indicator that determines the degree of US involvement. “I think that we are much more effective when this involvement is broad, covers all areas, and in this regard, our involvement has only increased,” Blinken added.