KABUL: During a call with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, U.S. Defense Chief Lloyd Austin on Friday reiterated the U.S.‘s commitment to an “enduring” alliance with the Afghan government.
A Pentagon statement on Friday said that Austin and Ghani “discussed the shared sacrifices of U.S. and Afghanistan forces and collective gains made over the last 19 years.”
According to the statement, Afghan President and Secretary Austin conferred on the Afghan peace process and the authority for a negotiated settlement to end the war.
Both sides emphasized the significance of seizing this opportunity for peace, the statement read.
The remarks come as Afghanistan is facing growing assaults by the Taliban, including a crippling chain of targeted assassinations of government leaders and members of religious, political, and civil society.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. has about 2,500 troops working to assist and protect Afghan forces against the Taliban, down from about 14,000 in 2020. There are now reports the troops might stay beyond the May deadline set by US-Taliban Doha peace deal.