‘Foreign forces to stay in Afghanistan’

Foreign forces to stay in Afghanistan for long time: Retired US General John Allen

Retired US General John Allen has said that foreign forces will stay in Afghanistan Ëœfor a long time.â„¢ The file photo shows a group of US soldiers in the war-torn country.

The former commander of the US-led forces in Afghanistan says there will be an international military presence in the country Ëœfor a long time.â„¢

General John R. Allen said in an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Å“Weâ„¢ve seen success by the Afghan national security forces… Eventually our numbers will come down pretty significantly, but thereâ„¢s going to be an international military presence in Afghanistan for a long time.”

Responding to a question whether it was Å“absolutely necessary” for the US to maintain military presence in Afghanistan, Allen said there was Å“no question,” adding, Å“Our forces will continue to train the Afghan forces well after 2014.”

On January 2, the New York Times reported that General Allen had submitted three plans to the then US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta with troop levels ranging between 6,000 and 20,000.

On February 12, US President Barack Obama announced that 34,000 troops would come back from Afghanistan by mid-February 2014, reducing the force to about 32,000.

The United States currently has about 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from about 100,000 in 2010.

On May 4, after signing a bilateral security agreement, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that Kabul would allow the US forces to remain inside Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

Washington and Kabul signed a deal on May 2, 2012, that authorized the presence of US troops for a period of 10 years after 2014, which was the original date agreed earlier for the departure of all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan. The Afghan parliament approved the pact on May 26.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washingtonâ„¢s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains across the country despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops.

MR/HSN

This article originally appeared on: Press TV