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President Karzai Welcomes U.S. Troops Withdrawal Proposal; Taliban Downplay, Call for Complete Withdrawal

KABUL, June 23 (Xinhua) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday welcomed his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama’s decision over withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, a statement issued by his office said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, 3rd right, speaks to the media, supported by members of his cabinet at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, June 23, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

“Today we welcome the decision of U.S. president over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, this decision benefits the United States and Afghanistan,” the statement quoted President Karzai as saying.

The Afghan president also said his country’s youth will stand up and defend their country. “The Afghans must be responsible for defending their country.”

“The beginning of security transition and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan means Afghan security forces must be strengthened and that Afghans throughout the country have more confidence on their national army and police,” the statement added.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday night in Washington announced his plans for Afghanistan troops’ drawdown that is set to begin in July, ordering 10,000 troops from the insurgency-hit country by year-end with a total of 33,000 troops to be out by summer 2012.

Presently over 140,000 NATO and U.S. forces have been stationed in the insurgency-hit country fighting a Taliban-led insurgency in its 10th year.

Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan on Thursday, however, downplayed U.S. President’s troops withdraw announcement as a trick to deceive public opinion and called for the complete pull out of foreign forces, a Taliban statement said.

“Obama and his war mongers want to deceive their nation and with this announcement, while in reality, they have no respect for their nation’s demands of waiting to bring this war and occupation to an end nor do they want to fulfill their promise,” the statement sent to media added.

In the statement written in Pashtu language, spoken largely among the Taliban fighters, and English, the Taliban outfit vowed to continue armed struggle till the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama announced in Washington Wednesday night that 10,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of this year and another 23,000 will come back home by September 2012.

“Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the name of Taliban ousted regime) once again wants to make it clear that the solution for the Afghan crisis lies in the full withdrawal of all foreign troops immediately and until this does not happen, our armed struggle will increase from day to day,” the statement emphasized.

 

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