US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference in Washington, U.S. March 10, 2022. — Reuters

One year after pulling out of Afghanistan, US says its in a stronger position

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US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference in Washington, U.S. March 10, 2022. — Reuters

Washington stands stronger than ever a year after pulling out of Afghanistan, said US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price as the Afghan Taliban marked the first anniversary since their takeover of the conflict-torn country that ended a 20-year long US-backed war in 2021.

“Ending the longest war in American history was never going to be easy, but one year later we are in a stronger position as a country because of the President’s decision,” Price said during Monday’s press briefing.

He said that his country is now better able to focus on the threats and challenges it faces as well as the new opportunities. He, however, said that the end of military mission doesn’t mean the end of US’ diplomatic and humanitarian mission, as the country aims to keep welcoming its Afghan allies and continue humanitarian aid.

In return, Price said that the US expects the Taliban government to fulfil their commitments.

Pointing out US’ efforts to contain terrorism, the official said that the country has gone to “extraordinary lengths to keep American people safe from terrorist attacks, as we demonstrated most recently during the strike against al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri”.

‘NATO more purposeful’

Moreover, Price said that NATO is now “more purposeful” than ever in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Responding to a question about Iran’s nuclear program, he said that diplomacy is the best and most effective means to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.

“The only way to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is for Iran to drop further unacceptable demands that go beyond the scope of the JCPOA. We have long called these demands extraneous,” Price said.

‘China wants to alter cross-strait status quo unilaterally’

In response to a question regarding China-Taiwan tensions, the spokesperson said that cross-strait status quo has been at the centre of stability and security across the Taiwan Strait for 40 years.

“It is China that is seeking to alter, to water down that status quo and to rewrite it unilaterally in its favour. That is something that we have consistently stood against.”

“It is not the United States. It is not Taiwan. It is the PRC that is challenging the status quo, that is seeking to erode the status quo, and then even with its recent provocative and totally unnecessary response to the congressional delegation that visited Taiwan earlier this month has again demonstrated that – its willingness to challenge that status quo,” he said.

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