Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani (R) shakes hand with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter during a joint press conference in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Dec. 9, 2016. The visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday said that the United States was committed to long-term support to the militancy-hit Afghanistan. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah)
KABUL, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday said that the United States was committed to long-term support to the militancy-hit Afghanistan.
"We stand with the people of Afghanistan who have put themselves at risk and sacrificed so much. We will continue to stand with you,"Carter told reporters at a joint press briefing with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
Carter arrived in Afghanistan earlier on Friday for a pre-Christmas visit to American troops.
This is the fourth visit of the Pentagon chief to Afghanistan since assuming office and the second tour to the war-torn country since NATO summit in Warsaw in July, during which the military alliance decided to continue funding Afghan security forces until 2020.
Carter praised Afghan security forces' role in providing security to their country.
The U.S. and its NATO allies will provide 5 billion U.S. dollars yearly to support Afghan army and police until 2020, he said.
The U.S. forces will continue to support Afghan security forces during military operations and would keep on targeting the Islamic State (IS) militants and remains of al-Qaida in Afghanistan, he said.
At the same briefing, President Ghani thanked the U.S. and NATO forces for their role in the fight against terrorism and appreciated their sacrifices in stabilizing peace in the country.
Nearly 13,000 foreign forces, with the majority of them Americans, are currently stationed in Afghanistan for the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission to help Afghan forces in the field of training and advising and backing Afghan troops in the war on insurgents.