U.S. indicates open-ended commitment in Afghanistan

Washington will not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorism, say Secretaries of State and Defence in Australia.

The U.S. will keep its military engagement in Afghanistan open-ended, Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have indicated. Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, where the senior officials of the Trump administration attended the Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations, the Secretaries said the U.S. would not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorism. “We can never allow Afghanistan to become a platform for terrorism to operate from,” said Mr. Tillerson. Making the point more emphatic, Mr. Mattis added: “…the bottom line is we’re not going to surrender civilisation to people who cannot win at the ballot box,” referring to the Taliban.

The U.S. national security officials are reviewing the country’s Afghanistan policy, which is likely to be announced some time this month. But the Trump administration appears to be already taking a view that presetting timelines for leaving Afghanistan limits its military options.