Austin extols value of US-Mid East partnership at Manama Dialogue
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Saturday the United States and its partners will keep up its focus on counterterrorism even as they shift their approach to an over-the-horizon concept in Afghanistan.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Speaking at the annual International Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue in , said: “We do crucial work together with our friends in this region – to deter aggression from any quarter, to disrupt terrorist networks, and to maintain freedom of navigation in some of the world’s most important waterways.”
He said the US and its allies have for decades worked -by-side and that their forces have trained together, planned together, and worked together, making “us stronger together”.
Austin said this was evident during Operation Allies Refugee, the withdrawal and evacuation of troops and foreigners from Afghanistan in August.
“As we wound down the -year_war in Afghanistan, the world witnessed again the power of our network of partnerships.
“When asked for help, our friends stood up. And leadership from this region helped us to evacuate 124,000 people from Afghanistan, and to provide safe transit for them in the and beyond.”
He also said America’s network of allies and partners in the Middle East and beyond “is a huge force multiplier. It’s a vast strategic advantage.
“It is unmatched. It is unparalleled. And it is unrivaled.”
The conference brings together defense ministers, chiefs of defense, and other high-ranking government officials from across the Middle East.
Outside of the conference, Austin also met with with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin in and underscored the strength and importance of the U.S.-Bahrain relationship.
He also thanked the Crown Prince for Bahrain’s cooperation on critical priorities including maritime security and promoting enhanced regional security cooperation.