The United States should continue its military presence in Afghanistan if it wishes to prevent future attacks similar to what happened on September 11, 2001, the top US military officer has warned.
Speaking at an event organized by the Washington Post on Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford said pulling American and NATO forces out of Afghanistan was not a good idea.
“Leaving Afghanistan in my judgment would give the terrorist groups the space with which to conduct operations against the American homeland and its allies,” Dunford said.
“It is our assessment that in a period of time… [the terror groups] would have in the future the capability to do what they did on 9/11,” he said.
Almost 3,000 people were killed on September 11, 2001 when 19 hijackers – 15 of them Saudis — with alleged ties to al-Qaeda terrorist group flew two passenger aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and a third plane into the Pentagon building in northern Virginia.
Following the attacks, the United States – under then President George W. Bush’s — and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of a so-called war on terror.
After more than 17 years, however, the foreign troops are still in the country because the operation has failed to defeat Taliban militants.
The war paved the way for the Daesh terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Libya, to develop a base in Afghanistan as well.
Dunford, however, said his top priority was not to ensure Afghanistan’s security and stability, but to “make recommendations for the deployment of military force that protects the American people, the homeland and our allies.”
“The presence that we have in Afghanistan has, in fact, disrupted the enemy’s ability to reconstitute and pose a threat to us,” Dunford said.
Last month, Dunford admitted that the Taliban “are not losing” in Afghanistan and much more needs to be done to bring peace to the war-torn country.
He said back then that there was no “military solution” to peace in Afghanistan.
This is while US President Donald Trump’s strategy for the long-running war revolves around bringing more troops and use them to force a political resolution to militant groups.
The new strategy, unveiled last year, announced an increase in US troop levels, bringing the total number of foreign foot soldiers in the country to about 14,000.