Hope Afghanistan doesn’t become ‘epicentre of terrorism’ again: Singapore PM Lee

Lee, at a press conference here along with visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris, said that America's intervention in the region 20 years ago has stopped terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a safe base.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday said Afghanistan is a key battlefront in the global fight against terrorism from where extremist ideas have been exported to the region, hoping that the country does not become an “epicentre of terrorism” after the Taliban seized Kabul.

Lee, at a press conference here along with visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris, said that America’s intervention in the region 20 years ago has stopped terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a safe base.

“For this, Singapore is grateful. We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicentre for terrorism again,” he said.

Singapore has sent personnel to Afghanistan because it is a key battlefront in the global fight against extremist terrorism, Lee said, noting that extremist ideas and capabilities have been exported from there to the region.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war. This forced Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country to the UAE.

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.

Thousands of Afghan nationals and foreigners are fleeing the country to escape the new Taliban regime and to seek asylum in different nations, including the US and many European nations, resulting in total chaos at Kabul airport and deaths.

Lee’s statement came as the Biden administration has come under criticism, especially from the Opposition Republican Party, for the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan as the Taliban captured power, resulting in chaos and deaths.

President Ashraf Ghani, who fled as the Taliban advanced on Kabul, has taken refuge in the United Arab Emirates which welcomed him and his family on “humanitarian grounds”.

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