In a statement released after the announcement of the US strategy for South Asia, Ambassador Llorens said “At the core of this commitment, we will continue to support Afghan forces in defending their country while we also maintain pressure on the Taliban to join a peace process with the Afghan government to end the war in Afghanistan.”
Ambassador Llorens further added “We will remove the incentives for hedging behavior by some that leads to support for the Taliban, and we will emphasize with all regional countries the importance of cooperation to reduce the threat of terrorism and nuclearized conflict.”
He also added “Our strategy is based on conditions on the ground, and we will stand by Afghanistan’s side as long as it takes to get the job done. So just understand, the United States is not going anywhere and we will continue to partner with the Government of National Unity and the Afghan people in our common fight against terrorists and those forces unwilling to reconcile.”
In the meantime, Ambassador Llorens emphasized that in order to achieve real progress, the Afghan government must redouble its reform efforts and deliver on vital promises such as holding Parliamentary elections next year and Presidential elections in 2019, rooting out corruption, and enacting the tough reforms necessary for meaningful private sector-led economic growth.
He said to maintain stability in the face of insurgent threats, Afghanistan’s leaders must also increase outreach to all ethnic groups and seek greater diversity and inclusivity in the government. -KP