Claiming that the US has struck significant blows to al-Qaeda leaders, President Barack Obama Tuesday said that US wanted to keep 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan next year depended on the Kabul government signing a long-delayed agreement.
“We have got rid of Osama bin Laden. We have prevented Afghanistan from being utilized to launch attacks against our homeland.’
‘We’ve helped train and equip [Afghan] security forces,’ he added. ‘Now we’re getting the job we started”, said he was speaking at the White House Rose Garden.
During his address, Obama declared his decision to wander down the troop level next year and to pull out of all forces except embassy personnel by the end of 2016, ending the longest US war.
But Obama said: “We will only have this military presence after 2014 if the Afghan government signs the Bilateral Security Agreement that our two governments have already negotiated.
“This understanding is indispensable to grant our troops the authorities they need to accomplish their missionary work, while respecting Afghan sovereignty,” Obama stated.
The United States negotiated the agreement with outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who has since refused to signal it.
But Obama noted that both candidates in the June 14 runoff presidential election — Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah — averred that they would ratify the deal.
“So I’m hopeful we can get this done,” Obama stated.
Obama credited the US war with eliminating militants behind the September 11, 2001 attacks, but voiced a tone of caution on what the United States could even reach.
“We hold to recognize Afghanistan will not be a pure situation and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one,” Obama stated.
“The future of Afghanistan must be decided by Afghans. Simply what the United States can do, what we will do, is secure our interests and help make the Afghans a chance, an opportunity to look for a long overdue and hard-earned peace,” he stated.