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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BRUSSELS — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said that the US will work closely with NATO in the weeks and months ahead on a coordinated withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
"Almost 20 years ago, after the United States was attacked on 9/11, together, we went into Afghanistan to deal with those who attacked us, and to make sure that Afghanistan would not again become a haven for terrorists who might attack any of us," he said in press statements after meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
"And together, we have achieved the goals that we set out to achieve. And now, it is time to bring our forces home," he said.
"President Biden will speak to this in a few hours in the United States, and I'm here to work closely with our Allies, with the secretary general, on the principle that we've established from the start. In together, adapt together, and out together," he said.
"We will work very closely together, in the weeks and months ahead, on a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan," added Blinken.
On his part, Stoltenberg said today they would discuss NATO's future presence in Afghanistan.
"We welcome this opportunity to closely coordinate and consult with all Allies, as we agree on our future presence in Afghanistan. So I look forward to the discussion with you, also with the (NATO) Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers later on today," he added.
Stoltenberg said he welcomed the opportunity to work closely and consult and coordinate about NATO’s future presence in Afghanistan.
They will also discuss and address Russia's massive military build up around Ukraine, he added.
Stoltenberg called Russia’s actions “aggressive” and said it must “stop provocations and deescalate.”
Blinken said during his first day in Brussels on Tuesday that the United States “stands firmly behind the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed confidence Tuesday that Western countries would also act to temper Russian aggression, which he said would force Ukraine to pay too high a price if left unchecked.
The Biden administration ended months of speculation about US plans in Afghanistan by saying Tuesday it would withdraw remaining troops by Sept. 11.
That date is the anniversary of the 2001 attacks that saw Al-Qaida terrorists hijack passenger planes and crash them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC.
US officials have said the decision to leave Afghanistan would be taken in conjunction with NATO allies. — Agencies
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