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Will review US troop pullout plan from Afghanistan: Ashton Carter

KABUL:  The US Defense Secretary nominee Ashton Carter on Tuesday said that there would be change in drawdown plan from Afghanistan unless the security situation deteriorated by the end of 2016 year.

Ashton Carter has served as Deputy US Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013 and recently had been nominated as US Defense Secretary to replace Chuck Hagel who resigned last year.

In a query from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carter said that he might suggest changes in pullout strategy from Afghanistan if security situation worsens, said media reports. He further said that Islamic State militants are trying to penetrate into Afghanistan.

The remarks by Carter comes as ex-US Defense Secretary Hagel said earlier in December last year that up to 10,800 US troops would remain in Afghanistan for the first few months of 2015 but the drawdown will restart and the number of US troops would be reduced to 5,500 by the end of 2015.

A survey conducted by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research (ACSEOR) revealed a huge number of Afghan citizens wants bigger US military role in Afghanistan and also favored the presence of US forces in the country. The survey adds that 77 percent of the poll participants supported the presence of American troops and hailed the US campaign against Taliban regime in 2001.

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are making indefatigable efforts to defend Afghanistan from the peril of militants. It is quite clear that last year Taliban intensified their subversive attacks; they committed suicide attacks, laid mines, and planned multiple coordinate attacks only to undermine the ANSF capability. Despite surge in terrorism, ANSF performed well and repelled the attacks bravely. National security forces conducted over 97 percent ground operations on their own without foreign support where they achieved immense security gains. They conducted 13,000 offensives against militants last year and debugged many districts of insurgents. (By Mansoor Faizy)

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