The United States is in talks with Turkey regarding its plans for Afghanistan amid US troop withdrawal from the country, Acting US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs David Helvey said on Wednesday.
“We are in consultations with Turkey about what their intentions are,” Helvey said.
US allies in Europe have asked the United States to slow down its withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming that they need more time to make the exit safe, the Wall Street Journal reported citing unnamed officials that Turkey may depart from Afghanistan and bring home the Turkish forces that protect the airport in Kabul.
Without the Kabul airport being secured, several countries have questioned whether they ought to keep open their embassies in Afghanistan, according to the report.
“We are having pretty active consultations and coordination with our allies and our partners,” Helvey said. “That is something that the State Department is leading, the Department of Defense is certainly in support of that.
But We are talking about what a future of a diplomatic presence would be and how will be able to – either singularly it collectively be able to provide for security for that diplomatic presence.”
On May 1, the United States began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of war that resulted in the deaths of over 2,300 US servicemen and the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of Afghans.
US President Joe Biden vowed to complete the withdrawal by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States that sparked the so-called “War on Terror” announced by then-President George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has not carried out any attacks against the US or the coalition troops since May 1, Joint Staff, J-5 Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs Brig. Gen. Matthew Trollinger said.
“There have not been any attacks by the Taliban against US or coalition forces since May 1,” Trollinger said.
Return Of Al-Qaeda
The fear of the return of al-Qaeda if Washington withdraws troops from Afghanistan is based on the delusion that two decades of the US-led war in the country defeated the group, which did not happen, David Swanson, executive director of movement World Beyond War, told Sputnik.
In late April, CNN reported, citing al-Qaeda operatives, that the group will continue waging war against the United States “on all other fronts” unless the American troops are entirely “expelled from the rest of the Islamic world.” While the reports claim that the Taliban headquarters in Pakistan and Afghanistan are still linked to al-Qaeda through the “Islamic brotherhood,” the Taliban deny they have ties with the militants.
“The fear of al Qaeda making a comeback if the U.S. leaves Afghanistan is based on delusion – not the delusion that things may continue getting worse in Afghanistan; that depends entirely on what Afghans and the world choose to do – but the delusion that the U.S. war of 20 years caused Al Qaeda a setback,” Swanson said.
He recalled that at the time of the 9/11 attacks the group “had a few hundred people hiding in caves in one country.”
“As a direct result of the U.S. wars that Al Qaeda openly sought to provoke, there are tens of thousands of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-style jihadists spread across dozens of nations from Africa to Asia,” the activist continued.
When asked whether the reports will influence the US administration’s plans to withdraw from the region, he replied that there is no reason to believe that it will affect their thinking.
“U.S. military planners, like Al Qaeda military planners, would rather die (and the rest of us with them) than abandon the fight for control of the Middle East,” he concluded.