News24

Kabul welcomes US troop withdrawal plan

2013-02-13 12:01

Kabul - The Afghan government on Wednesday welcomed President Barack Obama's announcement that the United States will withdraw 34 000 troops from the war-torn country over the next year.

"We welcome this," defence ministry spokesperson General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said. "We will take all security responsibilities by the end of 2013.

"Our troops will replace them."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has long supported the scheduled withdrawal of US and Nato combat troops by the end of 2014, saying Afghan forces are capable of taking responsibility for the fight against Taliban insurgents.

Obama, who made the troop withdrawal announcement during his State of the Union address, said the drawdown would continue and "by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over".

The Taliban dismissed the troop pull-out as insufficient.

"The problem is not going to be solved with reducing or increasing the number of troops," Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said.

"As long as the invading forces remain in Afghanistan, the jihad [holy war] continues. The problem is solved with the complete withdrawal of the invading forces and returning Afghanistan back to Afghans."

Obama's move effectively halves the size of the current 66 000-strong US force in Afghanistan, as Nato troops prepare to hand over control for security operations to about 352 000 Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.

Nato, which has about 37 000 troops in Afghanistan, will also withdraw them in stages before the end of 2014.

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Comments
  • simphiwe.charlie.5 - 2013-02-13 12:13

    Should never have gone there in the first place, achieved nothing except the loss of so many innocent lives.

      theard.stimie - 2013-02-13 12:21

      @Simphiwe.charlie.5 Have you ever spent time in Afghanistan? I lived and worked in Afghanistan for 2 years and I can tell you in all honesty that it is not just about war. The troops of the US and other NATO forces are all working on building new infrastructure and training the Afghani forces to defend the freedom of their own. I salute the work of the US armed forces and cry with them for all the lives lost in the fight against terror. Yes many innocent lives has been lost which I also condemn but you have to look at the bigger picture and respect the work of the armed forces all around the world not only in Afghanistan

      theard.stimie - 2013-02-13 12:21

      @Simphiwe.charlie.5 Have you ever spent time in Afghanistan? I lived and worked in Afghanistan for 2 years and I can tell you in all honesty that it is not just about war. The troops of the US and other NATO forces are all working on building new infrastructure and training the Afghani forces to defend the freedom of their own. I salute the work of the US armed forces and cry with them for all the lives lost in the fight against terror. Yes many innocent lives has been lost which I also condemn but you have to look at the bigger picture and respect the work of the armed forces all around the world not only in Afghanistan

      theard.stimie - 2013-02-13 12:21

      @Simphiwe.charlie.5 Have you ever spent time in Afghanistan? I lived and worked in Afghanistan for 2 years and I can tell you in all honesty that it is not just about war. The troops of the US and other NATO forces are all working on building new infrastructure and training the Afghani forces to defend the freedom of their own. I salute the work of the US armed forces and cry with them for all the lives lost in the fight against terror. Yes many innocent lives has been lost which I also condemn but you have to look at the bigger picture and respect the work of the armed forces all around the world not only in Afghanistan

      avremel.niselow - 2013-02-13 12:52

      It always amazes me when people blame those trying to stop terrorists for the atrocities caused by those terrorists. This is a very dangerous form of moral relativism.

      avremel.niselow - 2013-02-13 12:52

      It always amazes me when people blame those trying to stop terrorists for the atrocities caused by those terrorists. This is a very dangerous form of moral relativism.

      avremel.niselow - 2013-02-13 12:52

      It always amazes me when people blame those trying to stop terrorists for the atrocities caused by those terrorists. This is a very dangerous form of moral relativism.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-14 03:21

      It's posts like these that make U.S. claims about benevolence in places like Afghanistan so laughable. If they really wanted to improve Afghan lives, they could start by not killing them in the first place. How about the Turkmenistan-Afghan-Pakistan (TAPI) gas pipeline that the US has sought since 1998 that is nearing completion. The only "necessity" that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia — which reportedly contains the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world — and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan. Afghanistan is well situated for oil and gas pipelines to serve much of south Asia, pipelines that can bypass those not-yet Washington clients, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here's Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: "One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south."

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-14 03:23

      Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions. 11 Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban: The region's total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels ... From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-14 03:29

      When those talks stalled in July, 2001 the Bush administration threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the government did not go along with American demands. The talks finally broke down for good the following month, a month before 9-11. Sorce: InformationClearinghouse.info The statement that "commerce always follows the flag" is as true today as it was during the Dutch East Indian Company days. You should thank me for bringing snippets of reality into your conformist deluded lives!

  • fidel.uncensored - 2013-02-14 03:37

    No consolation whatsoever to Afghans who have suffered thousands or tens of thousands of "accidental" civilian deaths. At least the Taliban are still sending Nato troops home in body bags on a daily basis.

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