Combating Terrorism is Among America's Highest Priorities: US Envoy

News - Afghanistan


The threat of terrorism is one of the greatest concerns of the United States and underscores the need for the bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan, US Envoy James Warlick told TOLOnews.

The terrorist threat involves the whole world and is the reason for the country's efforts in Afghanistan, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan said in an exclusive interview.

"This is a challenge for the entire international community. It's not just this region or this country. It's one that we all face. It's one of the highest priorities that we have in the United States, the terrorist threat that we face," he said.

He would not be drawn into answering a question on whether the Taliban should be considered a terrorist network.

"It's not good to get into definitions. What we want to do is to address issues where there is a threat to our values, to peace and stability, and I think what we need to do is to work together on that," he said.

Warlick is hopeful that the transparency of the bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and America - currently being negotiated - will allay the fears of regional countries.

"We want to make this process as transparent as possible. The agreement we want to be a public one so that no one will feel threatened by it. As we negotiate this together, we want this to be information that is available. Not inside the negotiating room, but the objectives of the agreement. So Afghanistan's neighbors and no one will be under some misunderstanding," he said.

He declined to discuss what the US was looking for in the agreement, saying it was mutually beneficial to both nations and reassured that the US was not looking to retain permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

On the question of why the US would want to be in Afghanistan post 2014 at all, Warlick said a large investment has already been made.

"We've been here more than one decade... We've invested a lot here. I don't just mean financial resources, but I mean human resources. So that's why we want this kind of a partnership. And we're not only talking about security partnership. We want to continue a strategic partnership on the economy, on government institutions, rule of law," he said.

"We don't want that to come to an end. We believe this is a partnership that should continue into the future," he added.

He believes, however, that Afghanistan is headed in the right direction.

"Not everything is going to be perfect [after 2014]. But what we're seeing is the trend line is in the right direction. You're going to have elections here on April 5, 2014. We look forward, as do all Afghans, that these elections will be credible and will lay the basis for future democracy," he said.

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