Washington: The United States has said
the international forces would leave Afghanistan once
conditions on the ground improve and security is transitioned
to the Afghan security forces.
Such a statement from the US came as the recently
constituted High Peace Council, led by former President
Barhanuddin Rabbani, formally started the peace talks with the
Taliban for which withdrawal of US-led international forces is
a major condition for peace with the Karzai Government.
"We do not plan to remain in Afghanistan forever. You
know, the (US) President has made clear and he is supported by
the leaders of other countries that are contributing to the
international force, that eventually the responsibility for
security in Afghanistan will transition from international
force to national security forces," State Department spokesman
P J Crowley told reporters.
However, the State Department spokesman said the pace
of withdrawal would depend on the progress actually being made
on the ground.
"You know, the pace of that will depend on progress
in training, which is ongoing, and conditions on the ground.
But we the US, international community have every intention of
transitioning to an Afghan-led security force," he said.
"We plan to remain committed to Afghanistan, in terms
of helping to develop Afghanistan`s economy, Afghanistan`s
governance, to promote civil society, an inclusive society
"Just as we`ve seen in Iraq over time, you`ll see a
transition from a process that is largely dependent on
military force to a process that is increasingly dependent on
a civilian effort," Crowley said.
The US, he said, is fully committed to turning over
full responsibility of security within Afghanistan to the
Afghan people and the Afghan government.
When that occurs, it`s hard to predict at this point,
"In terms of the efforts of the Afghan government
towards reconciliation and reintegration, we are fully
supportive of that strategy. But it will be an Afghan-led
process, because ultimately it will be defining the nature of
a future Afghanistan state. We certainly hope and will support
efforts for people to be committed to a stable and secure and
peaceful Afghanistan state," he said.