US discusses counterterrorism in Afghanistan with Tajik- Uzbek

WASHINGTON DC (TASS): The US authorities are consulting with representatives of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other countries on issues related to creating conditions for the US military to attack terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan. This was stated on Tuesday by US Under Secretary of Defense for Political Affairs Colin Cole at a hearing in the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

He expressed confidence that the US military can effectively strike terrorists in Afghanistan without an American presence in the country. “We strive to build a stronger ecosystem for over-the-horizon attacks against terrorists, which will include regional players. We are consulting with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other countries,” Cole said. He noted that he could provide additional information regarding these consultations and plans at closed hearings.

The US military admits the possibility that terrorist groups “Al-Qaeda” or “Isl-amic State” within a period of six months to two years may create opportunities for attacks on the US, Cole said. “According to current intelligence estimates, IS could potentially create such opportunities within 6-12 months, and al-Qaeda within one or two years,” he said, answering a related question from the senator.

Kohl stressed that it is not now about the intention of these terrorist organizations to attack the US, but only about the assessment of their potential to do so.

In the context of its rivalry with Beijing, Washington should pay special attention to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as Africa, Afghanistan from this point of view plays a secondary role, US Under Secretary of Defense for Political Affairs added.

“China is trying to influence what is happening in Afghanistan mostly by economic means,” he said. “I think we should keep an eye on what China is doing in Afghanistan,” said a United States defense official. At the same time, in his opinion, this should not be a “key element” of the US strategy in terms of countering China.

“I think we need to keep in mind the rivalry with China in many places. I would not say that Afghanistan is in the first place here. I think we need to focus primarily on the western Pacific, as well as places like ocean, “he said.

Kohl also expressed confidence that China is seeking to establish military installations in Africa.

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