U.S. President Barack Obama has said in his State of the Union address that over the next year, another 34,000 U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan.
“Tonight, I can announce that over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan,” Obama said in his prime-time State of the Union address to the joint session of the Congress on Wednesday.
“This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.”
Obama said he is confident that the United States will complete its mission in Afghanistan, and achieve its objective of defeating the core of terrorist group al Qaeda. All U.S. combat troops are slated to withdraw by end of 2014, after transferring security lead to the Afghans.
Meanwhile Afghan media reported that President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama had a conversation via video conference before the State of the Union Address.
The Afghan presidential press office said in a statement that the video conference was held before Barack Obama’s address to the American nation.
The two presidents discussed topics related to peace in Afghanistan, strengthening and equipping of the Afghan National Army and the strategic security agreement, which is expected to be signed between the two countries, and bilateral matters.
President Karzai said that any kind of ties with other countries of the world are of great importance for Afghanistan and the ties should be based on respect for national unity and national sovereignty of the country.
The U.S. currently has nearly 60,000 troops in the war-torn Afghanistan, who are part of over 100,000 NATO forces.
NATO plans to withdraw all its combat forces by 2014. However, the US is engaged in talks with the Afghan government on a security pact which seek presence of several thousands of its troops after the NATO withdrawal.
The US and Afghan government have some differences over the issue of immunity of the American troops as Washington wants its troops will not be tried in Afghan courts.
President Karzai says the issue will be decided a traditional ‘Loya Jirga’ or grand assembly of the elders.