Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicated Friday that the violence in Afghanistan cannot continue for him to recommend to President Biden that the United States fully withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
“The violence must decrease now,” Austin said at his first Pentagon briefing.
“The bottom line is this: We are committed to a responsible and sustainable end to this war, while preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups,” he added in public remarks following the conclusion of his first NATO ministerial meeting Thursday.
Also following the meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that she would leave troops in Afghanistan past May — but only if the U.S. does so.
“Withdrawal must not mean that the wrong forces will get the upper hand once again,” Merkel said at the Munich Security Conference Friday. “Germany is prepared to stay longer if it is in the interest of the success of the mission.”
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