Afghanistan must not become a sanctuary for ISIS: US officials


WASHINGTON -- The Taliban must ensure that Afghanistan does not become a sanctuary for extremists, top US defence officials said Wednesday (August 28) in Washington.

Talks with the Taliban in Qatar must guarantee that Afghanistan "is no longer a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States", US Defence Secretary Mark Esper told reporters.

A deal on drawing down the 13,000 US troops in the country must not leave al-Qaeda, the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and other US-designated terrorist organisations space to continue their activities, said Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I'm not using the 'withdrawal' word right now," Dunford said, standing next to Esper.

"We're going to make sure that Afghanistan is not a sanctuary, and we're going to try to have an effort to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan."

"I view any agreement that would be pending is something we are doing with, not to, the Afghan people."

"What is needed is some type of disruption to the status quo," he said.

"I think any of us who have served there have long known that what's going to be required is a negotiated peace settlement. We want stability for the Afghan people."

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