White House orders Pentagon to plan Afghan troop withdrawal
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The White House says President Barack Obama has
ordered the Pentagon to prepare plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by
the end of this year.
A White House statement said Obama ordered the move because Afghanistan’s
President Hamid Karzai has indicated he is unlikely to sign a Bilateral Security
Agreement that would allow the United States to keep troops in Afghanistan after
The statement added that should the Afghan government sign the accord, the United
States remained ready to keep a “limited” force in Afghanistan after 2014 to focus on
training Afghan forces and conducting antiterrorism missions.
The statement said Obama had spoken with Karzai on February 25 by telephone.
Karzai, who is due to leave office after Afghanistan’s April elections, has sought
several concessions from Washington over the security pact.
In other news, Afghan officials say at least eight people are dead and dozens of
others are injured following a suicide bomb attack in the southern province of
Oruzgan. Officials said the explosion took place on February 25 in the provincial
capital, Tirin Kot.
Reports say civilians were among the victims. It wasn’t immediately clear who was
responsible for the blast.
Elsewhere, officials said three people were killed and three others injured in a bomb
blast in the Marjah district of the southern province of Helmand. It was not
immediately apparent who was behind the attack.
Source: Radio Free Europe