Obama Calls Karzai Says to Withdraw 34000 Troops in One Year
Washington – The US President, Barack Obama, called his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, today to inform him about his decision to withdraw some 34,000 of his 60,0000 troops currently stationed in the country in the next one year, senior administration officials said Tuesday.
The announcement in this regard would be formally made by the US President in his State of the Union Address here on Tuesday night (early Wednesday morning Kabul time), a Senior Administration official said.
“Tonight, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama will announce that 34,000 U.S. troops will return home from Afghanistan by this time next year, decreasing by half the number of US forces serving in Afghanistan. Further reductions will continue through the end of 2014 as Afghans take full responsibility for their security,” a senior Administration official said speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak.
“The President made his decision based on the recommendations of the military and his National Security team, as well as consultations with President Karzai and our international coalition partners. Before making his announcement, President Obama spoke on the phone with President Karzai, Prime Minister Cameron and Chancellor Merkel to inform them of his decision,” the senior Administration official said.
The official said that Obama will not be making any further announcements about troop numbers tonight, nor has he made any decisions beyond the one he is announcing. “The United States remains fully committed to a long-term strategic partnership with the Afghan Government and the Afghan people. We remain in negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement with the Afghan Government that would contemplate two narrow missions for the United States beyond 2014: targeting the remnants of al Qaeda, and training Afghan Security Forces,” the official said.
“Thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, our Afghan partners and ISAF partners from 49 countries, we have struck devastating blows against al Qaeda, and Afghan forces continue to grow stronger, with 352,000 now in training or on duty,” the official said. (PAN)