Feb. 13 - The Afghan government welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama's plans for the withdrawal of troops, but some residents are concerned that Afghan security forces will struggle to cope. Simon Hanna reports.
There was a mixed reaction in Afghanistan on Wednesday to U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw troops. Obama on Tuesday outlined the withdrawal of over half of the 66,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the next year. The Afghan government welcomed the announcement. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN DEFENCE MININSTRY SPOKEMAN GENERAL MOHAMMAD ZAHIR AZIMI: "The Afghan Ministry of Defence welcomes this decision. We are ready to fill the gap capably. We are ready to take over all the security responsibilities in Afghanistan in the year of 2013." Some Kabul residents though expressed scepticism about the capabilities of the Afghan security forces. This university student says the foreign troop pullout is coming a bit early, as Afghan forces are not prepared and well trained enough to ensure security. Some analysts say that the pullout could leave insurgents fighting Afghan security forces and lead to internal conflict. The Taliban dismissed Obama's announcement, saying the war would only end once all foreign troops had left Afghanistan.