Obama Delays Withdrawal Of U.S. Troops From Afghanistan
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced he will postpone the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. According to him, the troop level of 9,800 will be maintained through the year.
According to the Joint US-Afghanistan statement issued after Obama met with Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, at the White House, the reductions in the troop levels in 2016 will depend on conditions on the ground.
“The timeline for a withdrawal down to a embassy center presence, a normalization of our presence in Afghanistan, remains the end of 2016,” Obama said in a joint press conference with Ghani on Tuesday afternoon. “So that hasn’t changed. Our transition out of a combat role has not changed.”
Ghani also emphasized that with al Qaeda and the Taliban unleashing waves of terror, the timeline could adversely affect the security on the ground.
In addition to the 9,800 troops present in war-torn Afghanistan, there are 3,000 troops from other NATO countries as well, according to CNN.
The number was expected to reduce to 5,500 by the end of the year, and a complete withdrawal by the end of 2016, according to the Obama administration.
“This flexibility reflects our reinvigorated partnership with Afghanistan, which is aimed at making Afghanistan secure and preventing it from being used to launch terrorist attacks,” Obama said.
In a press conference with Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Ghani said, “Peace is our goal, but peace from strength, an enduring peace that will bring regional cooperation.”
“What we have emphasized and agreed is that we are strategic partners. We are bound by common interests and will act together to ensure both the safety of United States and the safety of Afghanistan. That is the important consideration. Numbers are a means; they are not an end in themselves.”
You might also be interested in: T-Mobile Offers Free Data Especially for US Troops in Afghanistan