KABUL, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Afghan acting Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta said Wednesday that 18 month timeline will be a good opportunity for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to assume greater responsibility over the security of their country and pave the way for international troops to withdraw the post-Taliban country.
"Eighteen month is a great opportunity; Afghans must step up efforts to assume greater responsibility over the security of their country," Spanta told reporters here after signing with U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry an agreement in which Afghan government will provide land for U.S. to have consulate in northern Balkh province.
The Afghan minister also demanded international community to help Afghans to boost the number of ANSF and provide them with training and equipment.
After months of review, U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday unveiled his long waited strategy for Afghanistan by sending 30,000 additional troops to the country to curb Taliban-led insurgency.
"It will be clear to the Afghan government, and more importantly, to the Afghan people, that they will be responsible for their own country," Obama said in a speech at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.
"After 18 month, our troops will begin to come home," said Obama who told his people "Afghanistan is not lost."
"U.S. troops will begin withdrawal from Afghanistan in July of 2011," he added.
"The decision to increase troops, the commitment of troops by U.S. here are, in order to reverse Taliban's momentum, to help train ANSF, and to give more safety time for progress and development of Afghan government," said U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry.
The top U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan also said that his country has long commitment for the government and people of Afghanistan.
"We must strengthen the capacity of ANSF and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan future," he said.
Obama renews strategy for Afghanistan
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a nationally televised address at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, Dec. 1, 2009. Obama said on Tuesday he is sending 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan by next summer to speed the battle against the Taliban and plans to start bringing some home in 18 months. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
WEST POINT, the United States, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- After months of review, the Obama administration on Tuesday renewed its strategy for Afghanistan by sending 30,000 additional troops to the country in a decisive war against the al-Qaida network and extremists.
"As Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home," said President Barack Obama, who told his people "Afghanistan is not lost." Full story
Brown confirms Britain to deploy extra 500 troops to Afghanistan
LONDON, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Monday that Britain will deploy extra 500 troops to Afghanistan in a statement to the House of Commons.
Last month, Brown agreed "in principle" to increase British troops in Afghanistan to 9,500 so long as troops are fully equipped for their tasks; the Afghan government is in place, ready to provide more troops for training and all coalition partners bear their fair share of burden. Full story
Sarkozy voices full support to Obama on Afghanistan
PARIS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy voiced his "full support" on Wednesday for U.S. President Barack Obama's new decision on Afghanistan but stopped short of committing more French troops.
The Elysee Palace said Obama's "courageous, determined and lucid discourse" can "give a new impetus to the international undertaking and open a new perspective." Full story
Hatoyama: Japan not to provide further aid for Afghanistan
TOKYO, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Wednesday welcomed a U.S. pledge to provide additional troops to the country but said that his nation will not provide extra aid to Afghanistan.
Hatoyama claimed that the long-term goal of the U.S. president is to help stabilize Afghanistan through international aid, and not through military interventions. "I believe that this is one of the president's aims," he said. Full story
Taliban downplays Obama's strategy, vows to continue war
KABUL, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Taliban militants fighting Afghan government and NATO-led troops based in Afghanistan in a sharp reaction downplayed the new strategy announced by President Obama for Afghanistan on Wednesday.
"The Mujahidin (holy warriors) of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (name of ousted Taliban regime) would continue resistance against U.S. and its national and international allies," the outfit said in a statement released to media from undisclosed location. Full story