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No commitment with SDF on fighting NATO ally: US

Decision on reducing forces in Afghanistan relies on agreement with Taliban, says Pentagon chief

Shadi Khan Saif   | 21.10.2019
No commitment with SDF on fighting NATO ally: US file photo

KABUL, Afghanistan 

The U.S. did not make any commitment with SDF in Syria to fight a longstanding NATO ally, the U.S. secretary of defense said on Monday. 

“Fighting a longstanding ally (Turkey) was not part of our commitment with the SDF,” Mark Esper told a news conference in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, adding the commitment with the Kurds was to destroy Daesh, but any future commitment requires broader political framework.

The YPG/PKK terrorist group in Syria uses the acronym SDF as a cover for receiving U.S. support.

Esper said keeping some U.S. troops in northeastern Syria near oilfields is one of the options to deny Daesh revenue from those fields.

He also reassured the Kabul government against an abrupt withdrawal of forces, saying reduction in troops relies on a peace agreement with the Taliban.

Flanked by his Afghan counterpart Assadullah Khalid, the U.S. secretary of defense said at a news conference that unlike Syria, the U.S. has “longstanding commitments in Afghanistan, invested billions of dollars and paid sacrifices in Afghanistan that should reassure the Afghans about the future.”

U.S. maintains nearly 14,000 troops on ground in Afghanistan. Besides counter-terrorism operations, the American troops are also involved in training and advising Afghanistan's security forces.

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