America’s security is not hinged on the number of troops on the ground: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said earlier this week that the threat from terrorist attacks around the world does not emanate from Afghanistan alone.

Speaking to Fox News, Pompeo said: “The threat from terrorism around the world – from Islamic extremism, Islamic terrorism – is real. It doesn’t just emanate from Afghanistan.”

Asked about the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan he said Washington would get all its soldiers home when the time is right.

He said in the interview that people should not “fall in the trap of thinking about America’s security related to the number of soldiers on the ground in any one place. We have the force posture right today.

“We’re going to keep it right. We’ll get our troops home when we can, and we’ll do the things we need to do.

“If Qasem Soleimani is a problem, we’ll go crush them. If Hamza bin Ladin presents a risk, we’ll take him out,” Pompeo said.

He also stated the outgoing-President Donald Trump has been very clear about the US protecting and securing America but added “we’re not going to have our young men and women in harm’s way when it doesn’t deliver real security benefits for the United States and for our allies.”

Pompeo also said Trump will still make the decision on whether to withdraw all troops – despite having said the numbers will reduce by next month from around 4,000 to 2,500.

He said the agreement the US signed with the Taliban in February talked about getting down to zero by May based on a set of conditions on the ground.

“That was what we’d agreed to. We have made some progress. We’ve had significant prisoner releases. We have violence levels that have reduced risks to Americans significantly over this time period since February of last year.” Pompeo stated.

He pointed out however that Afghanistan’s violence levels are still higher than they need to be.

“I was with the Afghan Government negotiators and with the Taliban negotiators just this past weekend in Dota, Qatar.

“I talked to each of them about the need to continue to conduct the negotiations which will lead to a unified, independent Afghanistan that protects all the gains that have been made over these past years, and the fact that they need to take violence levels down even further, and that the Taliban need to honor the commitment they made to make sure that there’s not a terror attack that takes place from Afghan soil.

“Those are the parts of the negotiation that continue. There is still work to do, but we’re headed in the right direction.

“We are safer here in the United States today as a result of the things the Trump administration has done not only in Afghanistan but throughout that region,” he said.