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US backs RS mission in Afghanistan

AT Morning Desk

BRUSSELS: US Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to NATO Resolute Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan, according to a statement on Friday.

“On Afghanistan, the United States remains fully committed to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission alongside our allies and partners,” Esper told reporters after NATO Defence Ministers meeting here.

NATO had a significant presence and a critical role in developing the Afghan National Security Forces, he said added the US strongly supported Ambassador Khalilzad’s efforts at the negotiating table.

“We never forget our purpose in Afghanistan which was to protect our citizens and our homelands by denying terrorists a safe haven,” he recalled. Esper hailed NATO secretary general’s leadership role.

Referring to tension with Iran, he said, The Iranian regime had been sowing chaos and conflict in the Middle East for 40 years.  The United States was by no means the instigator of recent tensions in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran’s hostile actions were an international problem that affect many nations.  They included pursuit of nuclear weapons, a growing ballistic missile program, support for international terrorism, and assaults on freedom of navigation in the Arabian Sea, Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman and in international airspace, as the world saw last week.

He, however, made it clear that the United States did not seek war with Iran.

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