General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said US forces must remain in Afghanistan or terrorists might get back on their feet and launch another 9/11-scale attack on American people.
Gen. Dunford, who addressed an event organized by the Washington Post, said that American military presence in Afghanistan is essential to contain terrorists who otherwise would regroup and take revenge on the US.
“Were we not to put the pressure on Al-Qaeda, ISIS (Daesh) and other groups in the region we are putting on today, it is our assessment that, in a period of time their capability would reconstitute, and they have today the intent, and in the future, they would have the capability to do what we saw on 9/11," Dunford said in response to a question about a potential withdrawal of US forces Afghanistan.
He said that his top priority is not to ensure security and stability in Afghanistan, which has been lying in shambles as a result of the 17-year-long war, but to “make recommendations for the deployment of military force that protects the American people, the homeland and our allies.”
“The presence that we have in Afghanistan has, in fact, disrupted the enemy’s ability to reconstitute and pose a threat to us,” Dunford said.
The remarks come as US has accelerated its efforts for helping a political settlement for Afghanistan. In line with these efforts, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday visited Kabul for the third time in his multi-nation tour for Afghan peace.
The US envoy left Kabul for Moscow after meeting Afghan leaders.