‘US Advisors to go back into Afghan ministries’

US advisors working with different Afghan ministries, who withdrew following the killing of four of their colleagues would return to their offices soon.

Last Updated: Feb 28, 2012, 12:41 PM IST

Washington: US advisors working with
different Afghan ministries, who withdrew following the
killing of four of their colleagues in the violence aftermath
the Quran burning, would return to their offices as soon as
the situation improves, the Pentagon has said.

However, the situation currently is not conducive
for them to go to their respective offices in Afghanistan.

"(Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan)
General (John) Allen has made it clear that the advisers will
go back into the ministries when he`s ready for them to go
back, and he`s not put a deadline or a timeline on that,"
Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt John Kirby, told reporters.

About 40 people, including four US soldiers have been
killed, after NATO troops reportedly burned several copies of
the Quran in a trash fire last week. American officials have
apologised for the burning of the books.

"He is in discussions every day with the minister of
the interior and the minister of defense about what we`re
doing to improve security in the ministries so that he can get
to that decision point.

I wouldn`t really at this point want to go into any
specifics on that because obviously, we preserve a little bit
of your force protection measures. But suffice to say, he is
not ready right now to have the advisers go back. But this is
temporary," Kirby said in a video conference from Kabul.
Allen, he said, has made this very clear that he
wants the work to go on.

"The advisers are still remaining in contact with their
counterparts in the ministries via phone and email. So the
contact is still there. The work is still continuing. It`s
just that they`re not physically at the ministry buildings,"
he added.

The recent developments in Afghanistan, he argued,
has not impacted on the joint anti-terrorist operations in the
country. "The work continues throughout the country.
Partnering continues. The growth and development, the training
of Afghan national security forces that hasn`t been impacted,"
he noted.

Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, said both the
countries, the United States and Afghanistan have taken
appropriate steps to calm down the situation.

"Trust and confidence are the keys to coalition
warfare. There is going to be issues. There is going to be
some tension. There`s going to be disagreements. As we`ve seen
throughout this, there`s going to be these very dreadful,
regrettable, lethal incidents," Kirby said.

"At the leadership level, everybody here is focused
on maintaining that trust and confidence and continuing to
work together. And it`s been daily contact between General
Allen and his counterparts in the Afghan government," he said.

PTI