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Afghanistan: Foreign Troops Should Leave Villages

Posted at: 12/15/2012 8:53 AM
By: RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the U.S. and NATO troops transferring security to Afghan forces should leave Afghan villages as soon as possible.

Karzai spoke Saturday on the opening day of a conference to develop Afghanistan's foreign policy strategy for the next three years.

He says international forces will end their combat mission at the end of 2014. But he says that before that — in 2013 — Afghan forces will take charge of securing the entire nation.

Karzai says the sooner that transition can be completed, the better.

He says he wants the international troops to leave Afghan villages, draw back to their bases and slowly withdraw from there.

US commanders give upbeat war effort reviews

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. commanders are offering glowing reviews of their 2012 Afghanistan war campaign. And the upbeat assessments could be interpreted as leeway for President Barack Obama to order another round of troop withdrawals next summer.

Obama faces a tension between calls by Democrats and even some Republicans to wind down the war more quickly and the military's desire to avoid a too-fast pullout that might squander hard-won sacrifices.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not yet recommended to Obama a specific pace of withdrawals for 2013. But during the Pentagon chief's two-day visit to the war zone last week, commanders suggested that things are going better than is generally believed by an American public weary of war after 11 years.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)