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tv   Secretary of State Blinken Holds News Conference in Afghanistan  CSPAN  April 16, 2021 12:29am-12:57am EDT

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traveled to afghanistan to meet with afghan leaders and u.s.
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embassy personnel. the unannounced visit comes after president biden recently announced the u.s. would withdraw troops from afghanistan by september 11th. the secretary spoke about the withdrawal plan at a news conference in kabul. >> ..
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>> threats from al qaeda and afghanistan is significantly degraded since osama bin laden has about to justice. even when our troops the innocent security partnership bipartisan that commitment to the afghan security forces. we will intensify our
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countries that have the economic investment development as they were more prosperous future and then to advocate for women she is and if tradition to editor in assistance and refugees. i shared that message in all my meetings today with representatives from civil society working every together
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the0 past 20 years
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because of their service and sacrifice and now we are embarking on a new chapter in our work here in partnership with the afghan people. thank you and happy to take questions. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] >> [inaudible] >> first things we know from
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our experience the last 20 is no. the only path forward to a durable lasting and just and cto the conflict is through negotiation and biblical and through compromise. and i hope that caliban understand that as well. if the forces are withdrawing so
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everyone uses their influence and leverage to advance a peaceful and to the conflict and advanced negotiation and an end to the conflict. it's very important the taliban recognizes that it will never be legitimate and it will never be durable if it rejects the political process and tries to take the country by force and i think something struck me profoundly today, i've had the privilege of visiting here on a number of occasions over many years going back to the early 2000's and i think something president ronnie said struck me very powerfully, the afghanistan of 2021 is not the afghanistan
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of 2001 or 1999 or take a year before that. the country has gone through profound positive changes, society has changed dramatically. i met with representatives of civil society groups, women leaders, extraordinary people, young people were reflective of this and similarly, the afghan national security forces, thanks to partnership with the international community are very well trained and strong force that exhibits extraordinary courage sacrifice every day so i think it would be a mistake for the taliban the afghanistan through the prism of 2001 through the 90s, this is in many ways a new afghanistan, one
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with very, we are pleased to have been partners to and one we are committed to remaining a partner for. [inaudible] >> i'm sure you got the sense despite your work intended to reinsure the afghan leadership and people that there is a sense of unease, if not threat, a fear of abandonment. to be honest, if we are being honest, there's a history of that in this country, particularly with the united states and other western countries so what can you do more to convince them that you words are not just words and
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they are not going to have a refund of what happened in the 80s were the country was essentially forgot about by the west and second, upstairs in your staff, you talked about taking care of safety and security in one way is through honoring the visa program. how exactly do you plan to do that? are you going to set this up? you ask this yesterday but i wasn't quite sure of the answer. >> thank you. a couple things. this is a time of transition and with any transition comes uncertainty, concern and i very much recognize that and i see that.
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let me say a couple of things and that regard. as you know, we met with president gandhi and chairman and other leaders from the government today and i listen carefully to what they had to say i'm a particularly in response to the president's speech last night and the decision we made and i've got to say what i heard today was consistent across the board. respect for the president's decision, profound appreciation for years of partnership but also commitment to and optimism about the next chapter we are going to write together. what i heard in private today from the president is entirely consistent with the statement he released publicly yesterday. no difference.
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again, a lot of latitude for the united states and partners have done over the past two decades but also something i mentioned a moment ago which i found pretty powerful that afghanistan doesn't live in the past, it's no longer 2001 or 2011 and what we talked about was partnership between our two countries, 2021 and beyond so what does that mean? two things. one, i did come in the first instance to deliver a message with strong encouragement from president biden, that our partnership with afghanistan is enduring and we will remain side-by-side going over and i laid out a number of areas where that partnership going to
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manifest itself in very concrete ways including ongoing support for the afghan national security force. work together on development, economic progress, support for civil society and strong demonic engagement and bringing other countries in to the effort for prospects of peace. so that was the message. to what you said, that message now has to be followed and it will buy action and i think the afghan people will see in the weeks and months ahead that as i said, even as we are drawing down our forces, we are stepping up and all these other areas. our engagement with afghanistan, with its government and its
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people and ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding but was very important to make clear what we plan to do and now it's up to us to do it and on the use of programs, this is something i felt strongly about three years in iraq, afghanistan and potentially other areas where men and women have worked side-by-side with soldiers, diplomats put themselves and families and loved ones at great risk by the fact of working with us so it's something i am committed to to the extent that there is demand from afghanistan, something is going to work on and make sure we are committed to.
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[inaudible] >> are you concerned with afghanistan -- [inaudible] [inaudible] >> i don't think it's in anyone interest or afghanistan to descend into civil war and even the taliban, as we hear it has even the taliban has said it has no interest in that. the afghan people clearly have interest in that. everyone i have heard from today expressed a strong desire for peace. if you look at the region and
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afghanistan's neighbors and other regional powers that have an interest in afghanistan influence with different groups, none of them have an interest in a civil war that could produce refugees flooding into other countries, extremism and terrorism interest. leaders to l
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freely and if it were to provoke civil war, none of those things would be possible so i think there are lots of things arguing against that and again, as i said a couple of times already, this is a very different country and it was 20 years ago so our focus is working to advance the prospects for clinical settlement and it has to start with meaningful negotiations and we've invested significantly in that from pretty much the first days of his administration and it was a topic today both of whom expressed their strong
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support to the process. much of the past two months in the region between. we've offered concrete ideas and support but we recognize this basic principle, at its core any peace process has to be afghan led and afghan only. we can provide support and ideas but ultimately has to be afghan led. as important, we've also sought to ensure broader international community and particularly countries in the region recognize a collective responsibility we share to help advance at work so our hope is that this can really begin. we're waiting to see a
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definitive response from the taliban about their participation but we are preparing for that. i want to express gratitude to turkey, united nations will beginning the conference and again, the goal is precisely what we have been working to do in recent weeks, accelerate process. the gathering will be supported by high-level attendance and the international community and proceedings will implement peace talks currently happening. my hope is that all afghan parties are preparing for constructive participation in the conference and this would be, i think a positive start moving in the direction that i think everyone i've talked to recognized is the only direction
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for a durable and just last piece. >> what is your response to the cia director saying pulling out of afghanistan is expected to diminish u.s. intelligence, the cia are going to be on the today, anything from them? >> of course we've looked very hard throughout this process over the last two months, the president was deliberating and deciding on our policy. we've listened very hard to all key agencies in our government starting assessments from the intelligence community and of course pentagon, the department
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and state department, every concerned agency in addition, we listen very carefully to allies and partners about their ideas and concerns going forward. we consulted with a broad range of experts including on questions of counterterrorism and as you heard the president say last night in detail, first what brought us here was on 9/11 attack we came to deal with those who attacked us and do our best to ensure afghanistan would never become a haven against united states are allies and partners and as i said in president said, we have largely succeeded in that effort but the other thing he pointed out last night was that threat has
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changed dramatically from what it was in 2001, it's not the same threat it was 20 years ago. we've seen even as the threat has been significantly degraded. even as osama bin laden was brought to justice a decade ago, we have seen in different parts of the world far from afghanistan, al qaeda affiliates take root as well seen al qaeda affiliates take root and now isis affiliates. and to concentrate the vast bulk of our forces in one place where the threat is not current, simply does not make sense. the president also said as we drive down or forces we will be repositioning the tools and assets that we have to guard
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very carefully against the possible reemergence of the threat from afghanistan. and we are confident we have the means to do so. in addition to taliban did make an agreement with united states last year to prevent the reemergence of al qaeda here in afghanistan as well. we will hold them to that commitment to the extent they are in a position to be enforcing it. all of that was factored in. the focus of our policy is on the threat we face today. not the threat we face 20 years ago. thank you.
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[inaudible conversations]
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