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Monday, December 12, 2011

US troops may stay in Afghanistan after 2014 says Envoy


The ambassador, Ryan C Crocker, speaking at a roundtable event with a small group of journalists, said that if the Afghan government wanted American troops to stay longer, the withdrawal could be slowed. “They would have to ask for it,” he said. “I could certainly see us saying, ‘Yeah, makes sense.” He emphasised, however, that no such decision had been made. White House officials said that Mr. Crocker’s comments were consistent with its previously stated position. “The president never excluded the possibility that there would be some U.S. forces here, but he stressed that security would be under Afghan lead by 2014,” said the embassy spokeswoman, Eileen O’Connor. “The president has always spoken of a responsible winding down of the efforts here, so talk of the possibility of some troops still being here post-2014 is not a change in policy.” “We are on a timeline, as you know,” Mr. Crocker said. “Ten thousand out by the end of the year, that is being met.” With the additional 23,000 by September 2012, he added, “that basically recovers the surge” — the reinforcements Mr. Obama ordered two years ago. “Beyond that, there are no decisions,” he said, adding, “And as far as I’m aware, there are no formal recommendations yet.” He said that there is no chance of turmoil or chaos in Afghanistan after bomb blasts. He said that the planners of blasts have no assistance of Afghan people. We have not had such clues which could prove that Haqqani network was involved in these attacks, he concluded. 

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