Karzai welcomes British troops withdrawal from Afghanistan
By Sadaf Shinwari - 20 Dec 2012, 12:18 pm
Afghan and coalition security force killed Taliban leader, Mahjur, along with one other insurgent, during a security operation in Nari district, Kunar province on Wednesday, The Afghan president says he welcomes the withdrawal of nearly half of Great Britain’s troops from Afghanistan next year. Hamid Karzai says his forces are ready to take on defense of the country.
A statement from the president’s office on Thursday said the partial pull-out is an “appropriate” move as NATO forces hand over the war against the Taliban to the Afghan military.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that nearly half of the country’s 9000 troops based in Afghanistan will withdraw over the next two years.
The Afghan defence ministry also welcomed Britain’s decision and said Afghan forces could fill the gap left by the departing foreign troops.
Cameron told parliament that the withdrawal of about 3800 British troops by the end of 2013 was possible “because of the success of our forces and the Afghan National Security Forces”.
Britain has the second-largest force in Afghanistan after the US and has lost 438 troops in Afghanistan since the operation began to topple the Taliban in October 2001 following the 9/11 attacks.
“We’ll be able to see troops come home in two relatively even steps in 2013-2014, leaving probably around 5200 troops after the end of 2013 compared with the 9000 that we have now,” Cameron said.
There are about 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Cameron said the decision reflects an increasing confidence in the Afghan National Security Forces. After 2014, some troops will stay on to return equipment and deal with logistics but no details on numbers have been finalized, he said.