Afghan general: US troop reduction won't affect war on Taliban

Other News Materials 23 June 2011 12:44 (UTC +04:00)

The withdrawal of ten of thousands of US forces will affect neither military operations against the Taliban nor the provision of security in Afghanistan, a defence ministry spokesman said Thursday, DPA reported.

US President Barack Obama said late Wednesday in Washington that 33,000 American soldiers would be withdrawn from Afghanistan in the next 15 months, in a process to begin in July.

"It is to be stated clearly that there is no reason to be concerned," spokesman General Zahir Azimi said, "because the withdrawal of these soldiers will not affect security or planned operations."

"The Afghan security forces, particularly the Afghan National Army... are fully prepared to fill the vacuum," he said.

There are more than 160,000 army and nearly 120,000 police personnel trained by US and other Western allies since the ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001. The total number of Afghan forces is expected to reach 305,000 by October this year.

Afghan officials have said that the country needs 400,000 security forces in total to take over responsibility for security and fighting insurgents, which is planned for 2014.

The country's forces would continue to require Western assistance with weapons and training until the handover was complete, Azimi said.