June 23 - As US President Barack Obama announces a troop withdrawal plan from Afghanistan, Afghan soldiers step up their training. Sunita Rappai reports.
Soldiers in Afghanistan's national army step up their training in the capital, Kabul. With US President Barack Obama on Wednesday confirming the withdrawal of US troops from the country, there are mixed feelings here about the move. Some soldiers say they are ready to take the reins from the US. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) NAZIR AHMAD AFGHAN ARMY SOLDIER, SAYING: "We have the capability to take control of the security of our country and let the Americans go home. We are very glad that our army forces are now fully ready to defend their country." But others feel the Afghan army is ill-equipped to deal with the move. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY TRAINER GHULAM HASSAN, SAYING: "Before Afghan security forces take responsibility for the security, we urge our leadership to equip us with better and heavier ammunition. The ammunition we have right now is not enough and we will face serious problems in the future if we don't get proper heavy ammunition." Meanwhile Afghan Colonel Mohammad Amin Wahidi urged the international community not to forget about Afghanistan. SOUNDBITE) (Dari) COLONEL MOHAMMAD AMIN WAHIDI, SAYING: "The international community still has responsibility over Afghanistan, their responsibilities have not finished yet because there is a war still going on. We demand the international community doesn't forget us because we are still not standing on our own feet, even after the transition and we need financial help." The killing of Osama Bin Laden in a US raid last month has helped buttress the argument in the US that its war effort in the region can be scaled back. While the Taliban has come under intense pressure in parts of southern Afghanistan however, insurgents have fanned out and violence has surged along the Pakistan border. How these soldiers will cope with the transition remains to be seen. Sunita Rappai, Reuters.