WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has urged all nations to crack down on the Taliban group that orchestrated Saturday’s terrorist attack in Kabul, killing 95 people.

In a similar message, also released on Saturday afternoon, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that those who support terrorists or offer sanctuaries to them will no longer be tolerated.

As he often does, President Trump used a social media outlet, Twitter, to give his initial reaction, declaring: “We will not allow the Taliban to win!”

Later, the White House issued another statement from him, condemning Saturday’s deadly car bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan and calling for all nations to crack down on the Taliban terrorist group behind the attack.

“This murderous attack renews our resolve and that of our Afghan partners. The Taliban’s cruelty will not prevail,” he said.

“The United States is committed to a secure Afghanistan that is free from terrorists who would target Americans, our allies, and anyone who does not share their wicked ideology,” President Trump said. “Now, all countries should take decisive action against the Taliban and the terrorist infrastructure that supports them.”

The Trump administration has already increased air raids on Taliban targets inside Afghanistan and in the bordering tribal areas of Pakistan.

Washington also plans to increase the total number of US troops in the country from 8,500 to 14,000.

President Trump’s comments followed a statement from Secretary Tillerson, calling the terrorists’ use of a bomb-laden ambulance a “violation of the most basic international norms.”

Secretary Tillerson also assured the Afghan government that the United States will continue to support Kabul’s efforts to defeat terrorists.

“There can be no tolerance for those who support or offer sanctuary to terrorist groups,” said the top US diplomat.

“The United States stands with the people of Afghanistan, and we remain firmly committed to supporting the Afghan people’s efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity for their country,” he said.

Mr Tillerson said that all countries who support peace in Afghanistan have an obligation to take decisive action to stop the Taliban’s campaign of violence.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s horrific attack in Kabul. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims who were injured and killed, and we mourn all those who lost their lives in this senseless attack,” he said.

He said that the Taliban’s use of an ambulance as a weapon to target civilians “represents inhumane disregard for the people of Afghanistan and all those working to bring peace to the country, and is a violation of the most basic international norms.”

The tendency to blame Pakistan after every terrorist attack in Kabul does not help, said Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, Islamabad’s envoy in Washington.

He was commenting on Kabul’s claim that Pakistan-based terrorist groups were responsible for Saturday’s bomb attack in the Afghan capital.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2018


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