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Afghan President Welcomes U.S. Decision To Alter Exit Plan


Ashraf Ghani

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has welcomed Washington’s decision to slow down U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In a statement released on July 7, Ghani highlighted “the important role of the United States as a strong and reliable partner, especially in the war against terrorism.”

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on July 6 that the United States would keep 8,400 troops in Afghanistan into next year through the end of his administration.

Obama had planned to drop troop levels from the current 9,800 to 5,500 troops by the end of 2016.

But Obama said the security situation in Afghanistan remains "precarious" and that the Taliban remain "a threat."

He also said Afghan security forces are still not as strong as they need to be.

Obama said the role of U.S. forces in Afghanistan would remain unchanged -- training and advising Afghan police and troops and supporting counterterrorism missions against the Taliban and other groups.

The U.S. president added that the only way to end the conflict is through a lasting political settlement between the Kabul government and the Taliban.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP

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