“We continue to have a dialogue with Pakistan about terrorist issues along that border with Afghanistan. I think it’s helpful to remind that they too have suffered from terrorist attacks inside their country,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at a news conference here.
Responding to a question, Kirby said President Joe Biden is clear on withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by September 22.
“The president was clear. We are removing US forces from Afghanistan and will maintain the sufficient counter terrorism capabilities we need to detect and prevent threats to our homeland that could emanate from Afghanistan,” Kirby said.
Once the US leaves Afghanistan, he said, they expect the sovereignty of Afghanistan to be respected.
He was responding to a question on reports that Beijing is considering sending a peacekeeping force to Afghanistan once the US pulls out which will be deployed at the neighbouring province it has with Afghanistan across that 44-mile border.
“We certainly wouldn’t speak for another nation and obviously we would call on all of Afghanistan’s neighbours to respect its sovereignty and to respect its territory integrity as well,” he said.
“If there’s a legitimate terrorism threat that’s emanating from Afghanistan to work in accordance with international law and with the Afghan government to address that, but we want Afghanistan’s sovereignty to be respected,” he asserted.
The US, he said, is removing all military personnel from Afghanistan.
“We will remove them by early September. All of them with the exception of what’s going to be required to protect the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan,” he said.
“So I know of no discussions with government in Kabul about reinserting counterterrorism forces inside Afghanistan. As the (Defense) Secretary made clear in Brussels last week, we will maintain a sufficient counterterrorism capabilities in the region to deal with emanating threats from Afghanistan, threats to our homeland from terrorist groups, but the president’s direction was crystal clear.”
“All US military personnel with that exception are going to be leaving Afghanistan by the early fall,” he said.
Kirby insisted that there’s no plans to reintroduce American boots on the ground in Afghanistan.
“We have robust counterterrorism capabilities all around the world, and I think as he also – you heard him say in Brussels there’s not a part of the Earth that we can’t hit if we need to hit it, but there are no plans and no discussions about reintroducing American combat forces on the ground in Afghanistan,” he said.