Washington: US President Barack Obama has not taken any decision on the reduction of American troops in Afghanistan even as the situation in the war-torn country has improved but is far from ideal, the White House said today.
"The situation in Afghanistan has profoundly changed, not just if you quantify it based on troop levels, but what's also true is we have succeeded in decimating core Al Qaida that previously operated with virtual impunity in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"I don't think there's anybody that would describe the situation in Afghanistan right now as ideal. So the President has acknowledged for some time that there is continued work and a sustained commitment to Afghanistan will be required after his presidency. There is no denying that," he said.
Noting that there has been a "remarkable progress" in Afghanistan to decimate core Al Qaida, Earnest said there is a need to build up the governing institutions in the country and to reduce the military commitment and military sacrifices that the US was making before President Obama took office.
"I don't have a specific timetable to share, but once the President has been presented a recommendation then he will make a decision. But I don't have a timeframe to share in terms of when that recommendation will be presented or when the President would make a decision based on it," he said.
The United States, he observed, values the important contribution that our NATO allies are making to that effort.
"We would not have make the kind of progress that we have seen in Afghanistan without the substantial contribution, and in some cases sacrifices, that our NATO allies have made in pursuit of our interest in Afghanistan," he added.
"At one point earlier in President Obama's tenure in office, there were more than 100,000 US troops on the ground in Afghanistan. And now, the question is are we going to reduce the number of our troops from 9,800 to 5,500? That, of course, is more than a 90 per cent reduction of our military personnel in Afghanistan," Earnest said.
So that also, I think, is an indication of the important progress that we've made in Afghanistan," he said.