Tue, 17 Sep 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that other countries must take up the battle against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, citing Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia as examples.

Asked by reporters whether he is concerned about the reemergence of the IS group in Iraq, Trump told reporters on August 21 that U.S. forces had "wiped out the caliphate 100 percent."

Earlier this year, U.S.-backed forces reclaimed the last remaining territory once held by IS fighters in Syria.

The Trump administration has reduced the U.S. military presence in Syria and neighboring Iraq, and there have been concerns about the extremists gaining new strength in the region.

Meanwhile, U.S, and Taliban negotiators are reportedly nearing a deal to end the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan, which would allow the United States to withdraw its troops from the country.

'At a certain point, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, they are going to have to fight their battles too,' Trump said at the White House.

'At a certain point, all of these other countries, where [IS] is around...are going to have to fight them. Because do we want to stay there another 19 years? I don't think so,' he said.

Trump singled out India and Pakistan as frontline countries that are doing little to fight militant groups.

'Look, India's right there, they are not fighting it, we're fighting it. Pakistan is next door. They're fighting it, very little.... It's not fair. The United States is 7,000 miles [11,265 kilometers] away,' he said.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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