December 16th, 2014 19:38 EST
U.S. Stands With Pakistanis, Afghans Against Taliban
By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
The United States condemns the deadly Taliban attack on a Pakistani school and remains committed to bringing stability to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today, emphasizing that the end of the NATO combat mission does not mean an end to U.S. involvement in the region.
The attack on the school in Peshawar is the latest manifestation of the savagery of the Taliban, Kirby said, noting that Pakistan remains a front-line state in the battle against terrorism and extremists and has suffered major casualties in the struggle against the Taliban. While U.S.-Pakistani relations have been rocky at times over the past decade, both countries share the fight, the admiral said, and added that today`s terrorist attack will not change that.
I think we have certainly made it clear to Pakistan that we`re willing to help in the wake of this attack should they want or need any, " the admiral said. There`s been no request for U.S. assistance. But we`ve certainly made it obvious that we`re willing to assist in any way we can. "
The attack on the school killed more than 140 children and teachers.
Across the border in Afghanistan the mission will change, Kirby said, but American and partner nations will continue their commitment to Afghan stability.
With Afghan forces now in charge of security, reporters asked Kirby whether they would be able to defend against an attack like the one in Pakistan. The Afghan national security forces are very capable, " Kirby said. They are already leading security operations in their country, and for all intents and purposes, are " conducting all the combat missions inside Afghanistan. "
Afghan forces secured both national elections this year and while there has been an upsurge in violence in Kabul, Afghan forces have handled the situations well, he noted. Officials expected the recent spate of Taliban attacks inside the capital as the NATO mission transitions. Kirby said the attacks are a Taliban tactic to divert attention from the fact that real progress has been made and that Afghanistan is a more safe and secure environment than it was even just six months ago. "
Afghanistan is still a dangerous place, the admiral said, but no one is walking away from it.
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