05:59 GMT +320 July 2019
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    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache four miles of the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan (File)

    US to Pull Out Its Forces From Afghanistan Only With Other Allies - Shanahan

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    The United States will not carry out a unilateral reduction of its troops in Afghanistan, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said at a news conference after a meeting of ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) in Brussels on Thursday.

    "There will be no unilateral troop reduction, it will be coordinated," he told reporters following a meeting of NATO defence ministers. "We came out of here much stronger and coordinated."

    In late January, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed to try to remove all foreign troops from the country. In addition, an agreement on the possible withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan was reportedly reached during recent talks between the United States and Taliban in Qatar.

    READ MORE: Iranian President Lauds US Troop Pullout From Syria 'If It's True'

    The movement, for its part, pledged to prevent terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a base to carry out operations in other countries under the future deal.

    On INF Treaty

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is united in supporting the United States' withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Thursday.

    "NATO maintained unity on a sensitive, critically important issue," Shanahan said in Brussels after a meeting of ministers from the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).

    Members of the alliance agree that this is a simple case of "US compliance and Russian noncompliance," he added.

    The acting Pentagon chief also said the public in Western countries is not aware "of the evolving threat" from Russia and China.

    "I'm referring to the evolving situation we see with our infrastructure, cybersecurity, space," he said, adding that NATO ministers had discussed the issue during their meeting.

    Shanahan also stressed that US commitment to its NATO obligations remains "ironclad," including its obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty's Article 5, which enshrines the principle of collective defense. He dismissed any concerns that President Donald Trump might not be committed to the alliance.

    *al-Qaeda is a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Related:

    Senate Approves Bill Opposing 'Precipitous' US Pullout From Afghanistan, Syria
    No Conditions Reached for NATO Pullout From Afghanistan - Stoltenberg
    India, Afghanistan Discuss Regional Security Amid US Pullout
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    pullout, NATO, Pentagon, Patrick Shanahan, Afghanistan, United States
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