U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said in a visit to Kabul on Thursday that it is time for the U.S. military to withdraw from Afghanistan and warned the Taliban that any attacks on them will retaliate with a “very strong response.”
Brinken said at a television news conference at the US Embassy that the United States had never planned to establish a permanent military presence in the country.
He said: “If the Taliban attack us during the withdrawal, the response will be strong.” He added that the United States will continue to support the Afghan security forces in fighting Islamic insurgents.
He said that the United States will “step up” its diplomacy in Afghanistan and “do everything it can” to advance its efforts to ensure that a peace agreement is reached between Kabul and the rebels.
He said Washington will continue to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan and advocate for the rights of women and girls.
US President Biden announced on Wednesday that the US military will withdraw from Afghanistan starting on May 1. This process will be completed on September 11 this year, marking the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
He said: “On the occasion of commemorating the 20th anniversary of the terrible 9/11 attacks, our troops and those of NATO allies and operational partners will leave Afghanistan.”
He said: “Now is the time to end the longest American war. Now is the time for the U.S. military to return home.”