No changes in Afghan policy due to developments in Iraq: US

The US on Thursday ruled out any change in its Afghanistan policy, including its decision on reducing the troop presence next year due to developments in Iraq.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 13, 2014, 02:16 AM IST

Washington: The US on Thursday ruled out any change in its Afghanistan policy, including its decision on reducing the troop presence next year and complete withdrawal by 2016, due to developments in Iraq.

"It (Iraqi situation) does not change the approach that the (US) President announced recently that we are taking in Afghanistan," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"We are ending that combat mission this year, and we, pending the signing of a bilateral security agreement (BSA), will keep a smaller number of troops in Afghanistan focused exclusively on the missions that the president discussed," he said in response to a question.
Carney said that the broader question is that, should American men and women in uniform be fighting in Iraq today, and is that the right approach for our national security interests?.

"Should American forces be occupying countries for decades, or should we take the approach that the president took when he ended the war in Iraq and established a relationship with the sovereign government of Iraq, through which we can provide the kind of assistance we provide," he said.

"That`s the approach that he believes is the right approach to take and it`s certainly consistent with the strategy he`s laid out in Afghanistan," the White House Press Secretary said.

Carney stressed on the need to have, as the President laid out in his speech at West Point, a strategy that is focused on partnering with the security forces of other countries, that helps them develop the capacities necessary to deal with these kinds of threats.
"We cannot have US forces around the world in armed conflicts without end," Carney said.