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Describing Afghanistan as a “modern-day frontier” between “barbarism and civilisation”, US National Security Advisor General H R McMaster on Sunday said the stakes are high in the war-torn country.
“What’s clear in Afghanistan is the stakes are high. This is really the modern-day frontier between barbarism and civilisation,” said McMaster told ABC News.
“So with those high stakes in mind, recognising that the Taliban groups that we’re fighting here, that the ISIS groups that we, really the Afghan forces are really fighting and we’re just enabling them — in the eastern part of the country, are a threat to all civilised peoples,” said McMaster who is on his first visit to the country as President Donald Trump’s envoy.
“So really what we do from this point on is going to depend on the decision that the President makes,” he said.
McMaster arrived in Kabul on Sunday days after the American military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State group hideouts in eastern Afghanistan, killing nearly a hundred militants.
The US President Donald Trump, he said, has asked his team to integrate efforts of various departments.
This is “because what we haven’t had, really here is a very well stitched-together effort that combines what we’re doing politically and diplomatically and militarily and economically. So that hasn’t been stitched together as well as it might have, along with the efforts our multinational partners,” he said.
“That’s what we’re assessing now and the President has asked for a range options, and we’ll give him those options. We’ll be prepared to execute whatever decision he makes,” McMaster said adding that in the form of Ghani Government, the US now has a willing and reliable partner.
“What this long campaign here in Afghanistan shows is that the future course of events in war depends not on what you decide to do, but also on the actions of your enemies. So what we’ve seen here is an interaction between ourselves, our NATO and other partners here, and especially our Afghan partners, and very determined and brutal enemies,” he said.
“What has happened in recent years, at a period of our maximum effort, we didn’t have as reliable a partner in the Afghan government as we would’ve liked. Now we have a much more reliable Afghan partner and we have reduced to considerably the degree and scope of our effort,” he said.
“It is time for us, alongside our Afghan partners, to respond,” McMaster said.