new video loaded: Defense Secretary Austin Makes Unannounced Visit to Afghanistan
Defense Secretary Austin Makes Unannounced Visit to Afghanistan
Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with reporters on Sunday after meeting with the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. The defense secretary declined to comment on a withdrawal deadline for U.S. troops tentatively set for May 1.
[inaudible speaking] Reporter: “Mr. Secretary, do you think the Taliban have met the conditions to ensure U.S. withdrawl from Afghanistan?” “You know, that process of reviewing conditions that have been met or not met is ongoing. And as you’ve seen with our efforts in Doha, and so, you know, I won’t, I don’t care to comment on that. I won’t comment on that. But what I will say is that it’s obvious that the level of violence remains pretty high in the country. We’d really like to see that violence come down. And I think if it does come down, it can begin to set the conditions for, you know, some really fruitful diplomatic work.” Reporter: “What was your message to President Ghani, and also I wanted to know if you think it would be a good idea to set an end date for a withdrawal [inaudible]?” “Yeah so, and thanks, I didn’t carry a message or convey a message to the president. Again, I really wanted to listen to him and to understand what his concerns were and see the landscape through his eyes. And so that’s what we did. I really had a chance to hear from him, and it was very helpful to me. In terms of an end date or setting a specific date for withdrawal, that’s the domain of my boss. That’s the decision that the president will make at some point in time, in terms of how he wants to approach this going forward. And I don’t want to try to do my boss’s job for him. He doesn’t need for me to do that. I will continue to participate in a very meaningful way.”
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