Washington: The top US military
officer vowed long-term commitment to Afghanistan, touting
progress in the war against the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda
allies ahead of an American drawdown.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, said on the "Charlie Rose" television
interview show on Tuesday that although some troops would be
withdrawn, a continued US presence was assured.
"Since I`ve been out there in the last three and a
half, four years, it`s still the leading question is, `You
left us before, are you going to leave us again?`" he said.
"A couple years ago I got to the point where
they`re only going to believe we`re going to be there if we`re
there... and certainly there will be some troops that come out
this summer... and yet that isn`t a message that we`re
President Barack Obama is expected to decide in the
coming weeks whether or how many of the 100,000 US troops to
withdraw from Afghanistan starting next month, the first stage
of a drawdown he initially promised in mid-2009 but later
Authority is due to be turned to the Afghans in
full in 2014.
In 1989, the United States essentially turned its
back on Afghanistan after CIA-backed insurgents beat out
Soviet forces toward the end of the Cold War. A civil war
ensued and the Taliban eventually gained control.
But Mullen insisted America would not repeat its