World community differs over future of int'l troops in Afghanistan

15:35, October 07, 2009      

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Kabul has expressed a strong opposition to U.S. congressmen's proposal to give a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan with the violence in the country showing no signs of fading.

General Zahir Azimi, the Afghan defense ministry spokesman, said on Tuesday that Afghanistan within the next four years will be ready to take the complete responsibility of the security from the international forces.

Azimi repeated the assertion of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that giving a timeline for U.S. troops' pullout from Afghanistan will be a strategic mistake.

The military official has said the Afghan government would support such a call only when its own security forces are capable enough to ensure security in the country.

"There will remain no need for foreign forces when our security forces are able to ensure the internal as well as external security of the country," Azimi said.

A group of Democratic Congressmen asked the Obama administration to give a timeline for U.S. troops' pullout after General Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. supreme commander in Afghanistan, called in a recent report for more troops to Afghanistan to avoid, what he called, a failure of the eight-year mission in that country.

So far 400 international troops, including 239 Americans, have died in the war-torn country, making 2009 the bloodiest year since the fall of Taliban regime in 2001.

McChrystal's call aroused a sharp reaction and caused stark polarization in the U.S. politics.

While the White House spokesman opposed the idea of reinforcement in Afghanistan, senior U.S. military officials, including Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, have backed McChrystal's call.

In an interview with CNN, U.S. Defense Secretary Gates has even described a timeline for troops' pullout as a strategic mistake, tantamount to a big defeat.

Gates said such a decision would only encourage the Taliban andal-Qaida fighters, who would consider it their success over Washington.

The demand for sending in additional forces in Afghanistan has also caused bickering in the international community.

Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, said decision to deploy more troops in Afghanistan will need time.

NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has emphasized the need for enhancing the capacity of the Afghan army and police to enable them to play a leading role in combating insurgents.

Rasmussen added that public support for Afghan mission had already depleted in a number of allied countries due to rising NATO casualties in Afghanistan.

Dismayed by the negative reaction to the call for more troops, the Kabul government last week reiterated its support for the demand of General McChrystal.

Humayun Hamidzadah, the spokesman of President Hamid Karzai told reporters in Kabul that increase in the number of foreign forces would help boost peace and security in Afghanistan.

Source: Xinhua
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