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“US may alter troop pullout plans”

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The United States is expected to fix troops’ withdrawal plans in a snail-paced process and let most of the 9,800 soldiers stay in the country post 2016, a media report said on Saturday.

The Associated Press quoted an unnamed US officials as saying that plans to cut the number of the US troops in Afghanistan to 5,500 by the end of the current year could be abandoned in line with US military leaders’ recommendations. The report also said that the US army leaders wanted to keep many of the soldiers into the 2016 summer fighting season.

Around 2,000 American forces would have to continue fighting against al-Qaeda and to keep an eye on Islamic State fighters.

President Barack Obama may announce his decision on a new withdrawal timeline during his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Washington this month.

According to the report, whether the White House will agree to a symbolic decrease by the end of 2015 or insist on a larger cut remains unclear, but National Security Advisor Susan Rice is said to be vehemently opposed to any change.

The report comes as President Ashraf Ghani recently said that the US should review its withdrawal plan.

Afghan critics have different viewpoints about the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, and most of them believe that the US should not keep its troops in Afghanistan; rather it should provide state-of-the-art weapons and arms to the Afghan forces, as they have the capability to fight militants by their own.

The spokesman for Interior Ministry, Sediq Sediqi, told mediamen recently that the Afghan security forces were well capable of ensuring law-and-order in the country. “The main issue is that they need equipment,” he added.

According to him, the Afghans security forces showed their capability in ensuring security of two rounds of presidential election which were held in April and July 2014.

Afghan security forces were applauded countrywide for shouldering the responsibility of security independently. Several sessions were held in all over the country, where they hailed the security forces for their utmost efforts in ensuring citizens’ safety. In these sessions, the main demand of the attendants was providing modern weapons to the Afghan security forces.

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