President Donald Trump on Monday made several thundering announcements regarding US' strategy in Afghanistan where it has been waging a war for the last 16 years, while also warning old ally Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorist organisations.
The US president said that he would be open to a "political agreement with the Taliban" and also confirmed Washington's support to the Afghan government, army and people. Trump also warned Islamabad of "consequences" if it continues to support terror groups. "We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," he said.
The reactions from around the world were varied, ranging from encouraging to dismissive. Here are a few of these:
India: India welcomed Trump's speech, saying it shares these concerns with Washington. "India shares these concerns and objectives," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. "We have been steadfast in extending reconstruction and development assistance to Afghanistan in keeping with our traditional friendship with its people. We will continue these efforts, including partnerships with other countries," Kumar added.
China: China jumped to Pakistan's defence, saying that Islamabad is at the frontline of combating terrorism. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, "Hope the relevant policy decision by the US will be conducive to promoting security and stability of the relevant region. Pakistan is at the frontline of fighting terrorism, has made sacrifices in fighting terrorism, making an important contribution to upholding peace and stability. I think the international community should truly affirm the efforts by Pakistan in combating terrorism."
Pakistan Army: A spokesperson for the Pakistan Army said that his country had taken action against all Islamist militants including the Haqqani network, which is allied with the Afghan Taliban. "There are no terrorist hideouts in Pakistan. We have operated against all terrorists, including (the) Haqqani network," said Pakistan armed forces spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor. "We carried out indiscriminate operations, across the board and did not ask anyone that what kind of terrorist they were."
Afghanistan: Afghanistan on Tuesday welcomed Trump's speech, saying it's "grateful" to Trump and the American people. "The strategy puts emphasis on enhancing Afghan air power and doubling the size of the Afghan Special Forces. This strategy allows the region to work together in achieving mutual goals of peace and prosperity, and provides a clear pathway for regional countries to end support for non-State actors," President Ashraf Ghani said.
Taliban: The Taliban warned that Afghanistan would become a "graveyard" for the US following Trump's decision. "If America doesn't withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century. As long as there is one US soldier in our land, and they continue to impose war on us, we, with a high morale, will continue our jihad," Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
NATO: NATO allies said they are "fully committed" towards helping the US out on its mission. NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement, "NATO remains fully committed to Afghanistan and I am looking forward to discussing the way ahead with the US (defence) secretary (James) Mattis and our allies and international partners."
Britain: Britain, a leading NATO member, called US' commitment very welcoming. "US' commitment is very welcome," British defence secretary Michael Fallon said in a statement. "In my call with Mattis, we agreed that despite the challenges, we have to stay the course in Afghanistan to help build up its fragile democracy and reduce the terrorist threat to the West. It's in all our interests that Afghanistan becomes more prosperous and safer, and that's why we announced our own troop increase back in June."
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Aug 22, 2017 09:20 pm | Updated Date: Aug 22, 2017 09:20 pm