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Singapore provides to assist US evacuate refugees from Afghanistan utilizing RSAF tanker-transport airplane

AN “EXTREMELY DIFFICULT” SITUATION: PM LEE

Mr Lee mentioned the Biden administration inherited an “extraordinarily tough” state of affairs, highlighting that the US had invested “appreciable blood and treasure” in Afghanistan.

“Nevertheless it was an intractable job given the complicated historical past, geography and tribal rivalries of the place,” he mentioned.

Mr Lee mentioned successive US presidents had declared their resolve to withdraw from Afghanistan, including that he instructed Ms Harris that Singapore understands Mr Biden’s causes for his choice.

“The US intervention has stopped terrorist teams from utilizing Afghanistan as a protected base for 20 years,” he mentioned.

“For this, Singapore is grateful. We hope Afghanistan doesn’t turn out to be an epicentre for terrorism once more, and post-Afghanistan in the long run, what issues is how the US repositions itself within the Asia-Pacific, engages the broader area and continues the struggle in opposition to terrorism.”

Mr Lee identified that Singapore participated within the Worldwide Safety Help Power in Afghanistan, and despatched provincial reconstruction groups to assist the Afghan folks of their reconstruction of the nation.

These efforts have been made as Afghanistan is a “key battlefront” within the world struggle in opposition to extremist terrorism, Mr Lee defined.

“Extremist concepts and capabilities have been exported from there, (to) throughout our area, and so they pose a safety menace to Singapore too. The Jemaah Islamiyah group, for instance, had direct hyperlinks to Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

Nonetheless, Mr Lee mentioned international locations everywhere in the world are watching developments in Afghanistan “very intently”.

“Foremost in everyone’s minds is the security and safety of the civilians, and I hope all sides will work to make sure this,” he added.

When requested by a reporter “what went improper” within the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, Ms Harris mentioned there will probably be “loads of time to analyse what has occurred”.

“However proper now, we’re singularly centered on evacuating Americans, Afghans who labored with us, and Afghans who’re susceptible, together with girls and youngsters,” she mentioned.

“That’s our singular focus presently, understanding that we’ve a precedence in ensuring that the folks that, particularly, helped America obtain its duties when it comes to our priorities and the rationale we went to Afghanistan within the first place … are protected.”

Ms Harris mentioned there was a “profitable drawdown” of the US embassy in Afghanistan with out American casualties, including that the US navy has accomplished “very laborious and tough work” to include Kabul airport and guarantee profitable evacuations.

Mr Lee acknowledged that international locations regulate their positions occasionally and this might typically end in “hiccups”.

However he reiterated that going ahead, perceptions of the US’ dedication to area can be influenced by the way it engages its broad vary of allies within the area.

“International locations stay with long-term pursuits, with long-term companions, and the mark of a rustic which might succeed, (is) that it takes these pursuits and companions critically,” he mentioned.

Ms Harris mentioned her job at hand pertains to the US’ relationship world wide, and the agreements reached with Singapore have been proof of a permanent relationship and dedication.

“I am standing right here in Singapore, due to our dedication to a long-standing relationship, which is a permanent relationship with the Indo-Pacific area, with Southeast Asian international locations and particularly, with Singapore,” she added.

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