White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said that the US intentions are to maintain a continued presence in Kabul despite the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Well, first, I would say that we have every intention of continuing an ongoing presence in Kabul, which is continuing even after we bring our military, who are serving, home by the end of August,” Psaki said.
“But we will also continue to be partners to the Afghan government. That’s something that the President reiterated when he met with leaders just a week and a half ago. That we — that includes security assistance, that includes humanitarian assistance, and that includes over-the-horizon capacity to ensure that we are working to address any threats that we face.”
“That will continue, and we intend to have a presence on the ground in our embassy there in Kabul,” she further said.
On the American troops withdrawal announcement by Joe Biden in April, she said: “if you take us back to when the President made this decision and announcement: We — he asked his team to do a clear-eyed assessment, not to sugarcoat it, of what the impact could be, of moving — withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan after a 20-year war — a war that the President continues to feel does not have a military solution.”
“What the President is continuing to press on is a political solution and political negotiations and discussions, which we hope will reconvene soon, to move toward a political solution on the ground to bring greater peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan. That’s his hope,” he added.
This comes as the US has completed “more than 90 percent” of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.
US and coalition forces left Bagram Airfield last week, which for nearly 20 years was the largest US base in Afghanistan.
About 650 troops are expected to remain to protect the US Embassy in Kabul, while others may be deployed to protect the capital’s airport alongside Turkish troops, according to reports.
On Tuesday, India dismissed speculation about the closure of its embassy and two consulates in Afghanistan, the Hindustan Times reported.
People familiar with developments told the Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that Indian authorities were keeping a very close watch on the fluid situation in Afghanistan, especially against the backdrop of a massive surge in violence by the Afghan Taliban, to ensure that Indian officials and nationals were not put in harm’s way.
Turkish, Russian, Iran and Uzbekistan missions in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, have closed their consulates due to security issues.