Singapore to help with Afghan airlift but hopes to see U.S. ‘resolve’

Singapore to help with Afghan airlift but hopes to see U.S. ‘resolve’

Monday, August 23, 2021 10:58 am

Taliban militants on the streets in Afghanistan

Taliban militants on the streets in Afghanistan

Singapore will provide aircraft to help with evacuations from Kabul, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday, during a news conference with the visiting U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

Harris thanked Lee for his generous offer, which came after U.S. said on Sunday it would commission commercial airlines to provide extra evacuation flights from Kabul’s international airport.

Harris would also this week visit Vietnam in the tour overshadowed by the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and images of chaos at the airport as thousands attempt to get on flights leaving the country.

Declining to answer questions about the implications of the Taliban takeover for the U.S. role in the region, Harris said the Biden administration was singularly focused on the evacuations.

Lee said “what the U.S. does is going forward, how it reposition itself in the region’’ will influence perceptions of U.S. resolve and commitment to the region.’’

Lauding the robust and enduring partnership between the two countries , Lee said they would also collaborate on cyber security and on genome sequencing related to COVID-19.

They also discussed the disputed South China Sea, a flashpoint for U.S.-China rivalry, and the situation in Myanmar, where the army took power in a coup in February, the vice president said.

Harris’ trip, her second abroad since she assumed office, followed Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines a month ago. (dpa/NAN)

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