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US ready to offer Kabul more support under Trump: statement


US President-elect Donald Trump/Getty Images/AFP

US President-elect Donald Trump/Getty Images/AFP

US President-elect Donald Trump has assured Afghanistan’s leader in a phone call that his administration stands ready to up support to the country if necessary, a Kabul statement said Saturday.

“If Afghanistan needs more security assistance, his administration, after assessing the needs, will focus on providing more security support,” the statement released by President Ashraf Ghani’s office read.

The statement cited a phonecall between Trump and Ghani on Friday, the first official communication between the two since Trump’s November 8 election.

“President elect Trump praised the Afghan forces’ defence of Afghanistan and its people and emphasised that the US will continue to remain with the government and people of Afghanistan during his term,” it said.

Fifteen years and hundreds of billions of dollars after the US led an invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the security situation in the country remains unstable.

Afghan police and army units took over providing security for Afghanistan from NATO in 2015.

Their first year was something of a disaster, when they sustained more than 5,000 fatalities and saw the regional capital Kunduz briefly captured by the Taliban.

Around 8,400 US and NATO troops are still engaged in assisting Afghan forces in the war against a resurgent Taliban militancy.

During the recent US election however, Afghanistan got scarcely a passing mention at debates between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Nevertheless, the situation there will be an urgent matter for the new president.

On Friday, the chief US and NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said the Afghan forces had lost control of a small percentage of terrain they previously held.

Additionally, Islamic State group fighters have been trying to expand their presence in Afghanistan, winning over sympathisers, recruiting followers and challenging the Taliban on their own turf.

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