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US combat operations in Afghanistan will continue even after 2014: Eikenberry

By Nairita Das

Kabul, Dec 24 (ANI): United States troops will continue military operations in Afghanistan even after 2014, if suggested by the Afghan government, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry has said.

Recently, US Vice President Joe Biden had said in an interview that all US troops would be pulled out of Afghanistan without considering any condition on the ground.

Eikenberry confirmed the drawdown comments of Biden, but said that US forces will continue the military operations there, if suggested by the Afghan government.

"The last thing I would say about this, we would not be making these kind of extraordinary commitments and extraordinary investments, we have made over the last several years, if our objective was to leave Afghanistan," the envoy said.

He said that the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan would depend on the ground conditions, and that the Afghan leadership would have full security responsibility by the end of 2014.

The Afghan government, the USA and the international community are committed towards transition of security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, Eikenberry maintained.

"By the end of 2014, your government will have full sovereignty. As long as you have international military forces and foreign forces in your country that are leading security operations, you still don't have the attributes of full sovereignty and that is what your people are inspired to and that is what President Karzai wishes to lead Afghanistan," he said.

He also said that the training of Afghan forces, elimination of insurgents' hubs in Pakistan and the implementation of development programmes based on the desire of Afghan people were the key issues that should be gained by the end of 2014. (ANI)

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