Washington: It is premature to talk about US' counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, even as talks with the Taliban is believed to have entered its last phase.
"I honestly think it's premature to talk about what our counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan may or may not be without a better appreciation for what will the conditions be. We have tailored our counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan to reflect the operational environment," General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a news conference here.
He, however, said the operational environment would "clearly change in the wake of a negotiation".
Observing that what is needed is some type of disruption to the status quo, Dunford said an agreement that can initiate inter-Afghan guide dialogue and potentially leading to a reduction of violence associated with the insurgency is something that's worth trying.
Dunford underscored that any agreement that "have moving forward, and the president has been very clear, is going to be conditions based. And so those conditions are what make me confident that it's worth trying".
The US, he said, doesn't want Afghanistan to be a sanctuary from which the homeland, the American people and its allies can be threatened.
The US want peace and stability in Afghanistan for the Afghan people, he said, adding that what is required is a negotiated peace settlement in the Afghan dialogue, leading to that peace settlement.
"So when I think about what, when you say were going to withdraw, I don't think about it as were going to withdraw, I think about were going to initiate interact and dialogue, ideally leading to peace and stability for the Afghan people," he said.