Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford stated during a congressional hearing that Washington needs to maintain the presence of its forces in Afghanistan until the insurgency is eradicated from the country.
"I think we will need to maintain a counterterrorism presence as long as an insurgency continues in Afghanistan", he said.
The statement comes hot on the heels of an attack by Taliban* militants on an office of the Counterpart International aid organisation in Kabul, Afghanistan. The bombing and subsequent assault claimed the lives of four and left 24 others injured. The Taliban* claimed responsibility for the attack and, according to media reports, stated that the non-governmental organisation was part of a US network "involved in harmful Western activities".
The attack on the aid organisation came amid ongoing talks between Washington and the Taliban* aimed at ending the 17-year-long war in Afghanistan, ensuring the withdrawal of American troops, and ceasing militant hostilities in the country.
The US wants to receive guaranties from the Taliban's* leadership that Afghanistan won't become a safe haven for terrorist organisations after its forces leave. The talks have gone through five rounds already, but so far have not been successful — although US officials have reported certain progress.
US forces have been waging war in Afghanistan since late 2001. The deployment of American and NATO troops came as a response to the deadly 9/11 attacks in the US the same year.
*Taliban is a terrorist organizations banned in Russia