US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday at a press conference in Brussels pledged to “rebuild and revitalize” the NATO military alliance and to share American plans on any possible withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Blinken said a review is underway by the US on Afghanistan and that he is in Brussels to share their initial findings with NATO allies.
Blinken said conversations with allies over the next two days will cover a “broad agenda,” including NATO’s ongoing mission in Afghanistan.
Referring to a question on US plans for Afghanistan, he said: “We have a review underway in the United States. I am here in part to share some of our initial thinking with our NATO allies but maybe even more important, I am here to listen and consult because that is what allies do.”
“We went in together, we have adjusted together and when the time is right, we will leave together. There is a common theme and a common word, and that is 'together,'” he said.
Blinken remarked that last week President Biden noted that it would be tough to meet the May 1 deadline for a full withdrawal but whatever the United States does, it will be "informed by the thinking of our NATO allies."
He said that tactical decisions aside, “we are united with our NATO allies in seeking to bring a responsible end to this conflict and to remove our troops from harms way, just as we are collectively determined to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists who could threaten the United States or our allies.”
The NATO chief said that they have an excellent opportunity to sit with their 30 allies and to consult on the way forward in Afghanistan.
“We went in together, we have adjusted together and we will leave together when the time is right,” he reiterated. “therefore, we need to consult, to coordinate and make decisions together," said Stoltenberg, echoing Blinken.
He said that they need to see a reduction in violence and for the Taliban to stop supporting international terrorists, including al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, sources told TOLOnews that President Ghani, in response to the US-proposed peace plan, said that he seeks a presidential election to be held in September.