Afghan officials welcome pullout announcement, but many Afghans wary


Associated Press

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 12:04 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan officials are welcoming the announcement by President Barack Obama that half of America's 66,000 troops in Afghanistan will be brought home within a year.

But the news is being greeted with dismay by some Afghans who say America failed to keep its promise to give them a better and safer life.

A troop drawdown had been widely expected. But for the first time, Obama said how many would leave.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai viewed the announcement as good news. He has pushed for a faster pullout of international troops, arguing that his country is sovereign and should control its own fate.

But some Afghans said they were taken aback that so many Americans would leave even before next year's deadline. Persistent violence and a spate of insider attacks by Afghan troops against their foreign partners have raised concern about the readiness of government forces to take over their own security.

%@AP Links

185-a-10-(Zahir Sadat (zah-HEER' SAH'-daht), Afghan member of Parliament, in AP interview)-"very serious issue"-Afghan Parliament member Zahir Sadat says he hopes the U.S. will not repeat the mistakes of the past, abandoning Afghanistan after the troops pull out. (13 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *185 (02/13/13)>> 00:10 "very serious issue"

184-a-10-(Zahir Sadat (zah-HEER' SAH'-daht), Afghan member of Parliament, in AP interview)-"will have stability"-Afghan Parliament member Zahir Sadat says that, with some help, his country's military should be able to keep Afghanistan stable. (13 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *184 (02/13/13)>> 00:10 "will have stability"

APPHOTO XMS102: Afghan men watch a television news report on U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in Kabul, Afghanistan Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. President Obama announced plans to withdraw more troops from Afghanistan and take steps to boost the fragile U.S. economy as he delivered a closely watched State of the Union address laying out his priorities for the year and for his newly begun second term in office. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) (13 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO XMS102 (02/13/13)>>