News / Asia

    Kabul Lawmakers Denounce US Combat Mission Timetable

    U.S. soldiers from 5-20 infantry Regiment attached to 82nd Airborne walk while on patrol in Zharay district in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, April 24, 2012.
    U.S. soldiers from 5-20 infantry Regiment attached to 82nd Airborne walk while on patrol in Zharay district in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan, April 24, 2012.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has praised the news that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan is coming to an end and that all U.S. forces will be out of the country in less than two years.

    "Afghanistan welcomes the announcement by President Obama, who in his State of the Union address said that the U.S. would be pulling out another 34,000 troops over the next year from Afghanistan," Karzai's office said in a statement Wednesday.

    "This is something Afghanistan has wanted for so long now," Karzai's office said, referring to Obama's statement that American forces would be moving into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead. "The withdrawal in spring of foreign forces from Afghan villages will definitely help in ensuring peace and full security in Afghanistan."

    The statement added that "we hope the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries could further expand."

    The Afghan Ministry of Defense also expressed support for the U.S. decision.

    "We welcome the U.S. troop's withdrawal. The Afghan security forces are to take over combat and operations control in 2013 and they are ready to take security of the country," MOD spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi told TOLOnews.

    Meanwhile, lawmakers in the Afghan capital Kabul, spoke out Wednesday, expressing concern that the timeframe is not enough for Afghan forces to stand on their own against militant attempts to destabilize the country.
     
    Parliament member Shukria Barakzai addressed Kabul’s national assembly.
     
    She said Afghanistan in two years will not be able to buy all the equipment that the Afghan army will need and they will not be able to pay the army’s salaries. She said Kabul cannot even pay its own civil service.
     
    In an example of the country’s continued insecurity, a U.S. consulate vehicle was attacked near the airport in Afghanistan’s eastern city of Herat on Wednesday. Two Americans were wounded.


     
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    U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday if Afghanistan’s next president agrees to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA, with Washington, up to 9,800 troops would stay on in the country after the international combat mission ends this year, and nearly all would leave by the end of 2016.
     
    Current Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the deal.
     
    Afghanistan’s second and final round of presidential elections between former minister Abdullah Abdullah and former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani are to be held June 14.  Both have indicated that they are ready to sign the security agreement.
     
    General Joseph Dunford, the top U.S/ commander in Afghanistan, reassured Kabul of continued U.S. support.
     
    “The United States and coalition forces look forward to working together with Afghan forces to complete our mission here in Afghanistan, to provide for a stable, secure and unified Afghanistan, and to provide for critical and sustainable Afghan forces,” Dunford said.
     
    Dunford said under the BSA, the relationship between the U.S. and Afghan militaries would continue after 2016.
     
    Afghan lawmaker Molave Shahzada Shaheed welcomed President Obama’s decision.
     
    “If you are hoping that foreign forces will protect us, and there will be economic and development and security if we live under their shadow, just look at what has happened in the past 13 years,” he said. “This is nothing but a dream. We should unite and take care of our own security.”
     
    The reaction was measured in neighboring Pakistan, which shares a long and porous border with Afghanistan and has strong connections with the Afghan Taliban.

    Syed Tariq Fatemi, the Pakistani prime minister's special assistant on foreign affairs, said a peaceful Afghanistan was crucial to Pakistan’s security. But he appeared non-committal as to how this should happen.
     
    “We believe neither an abandonment of Afghanistan, nor a policy of interference in that country serves the purpose of any one of us," Fatemi said.
     
    Currently there are just over 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a third of the one-time high of 100,000 soldiers. Some 2,200 American personnel have died in the conflict since the war began in 2001 in reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

    VOA's Afghan service contributed to this report

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Bill from: Tucson,Az
    May 28, 2014 2:27 PM
    All they want in Afghanistan is more money pouring in with no strings attached so they can paid their bank accounts.

    by: Josep from: Houston
    May 28, 2014 1:44 PM
    Here's the Deal!

    The Afghans are willing to take our money - but reserve the right to kill our people.
    In Response

    by: Hamidi from: Kabul Afghanistan
    May 28, 2014 11:19 PM
    Hello Josep!
    Afghans are never hungry and never looking for the packet of someone, it is clear that US earn a lot of money in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but some of you are still blame. US trained their own soldiers here, they increase Al-Qaida and Taliban for us and they train the Taliban against the ANA, ANP and ANDS

    by: Behr from: Nevada
    May 28, 2014 12:03 PM
    Great Idea, lets get the Hell gone from there. The only thing they want is for us to get out of their country so they can get back to the heathens that they really are and for the U.S. to keep sending sacks of dollars.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    May 28, 2014 9:49 AM
    TRUTH BE TOLD? --- Obama wanted Karzai to sign an extension of the "Unequal Treaty" the US had with the Afghan government, (and he rejected the US request) -- that would allow the US government the right to kill suspected ant-American terrorists, (and also give the US immunity for killing Afghan innocent civilians in their homes or anywhere, with the US killer drone bombs), while they hid behind their (30) foot high blast-proof walls from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban...
    The US offered "Unequal Treaties" and delivered broken promises !!!

    PS; _ IF ONLY the US had delivered the old outdated refurbished fighter planes, old Russian refurbished attack helicopters, old outdated armored vehicles, artillery pieces, and communication equipment, to the Afghan military that they promised over (5) years ago, the Afghan military could now defend their own country, without the help of anybody. -- (NOW?) -- The US is destroying their military equipment before they retreat from Afghanistan. .....
    In Response

    by: Mclovin from: Miami
    May 28, 2014 4:39 PM
    Truth be told
    maybe if the afghan military find some ballz to secure their own country maybe perhaps maybe they can have one

    by: jonathan huang from: canada
    May 28, 2014 9:28 AM
    are you sure thats a terrorist attack not a cry of desperation?

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