zaterdag 22 september 2012

Laatste soldaten “troepensurge” VS terug uit Afghanistan

De Verenigde Staten hebben deze week de laatste militairen van de zogenoemde troepensurge die drie jaar terug in gang werd gezet uit Afghanistan teruggetrokken.

Dat heeft de Amerikaanse minister van Defensie Leon Panetta donderdag in een verklaring bekendgemaakt.

Met de terugtrekking van de 33.000 manschappen die aan de piek in het aantal Amerikaanse soldaten in het land deelnamen is het totaal aantal VS-militairen in Afghanistan op dit ogenblik nog ongeveer 68.000.

Panetta noemt de Verenigde Staten "een land in oorlog", maar zegt dat de internationale gemeenschap krachtig verenigd is in de gezamenlijke strategie om het land over te dragen aan de Afghaanse veiligheidsdiensten.

Deze transitie zal volgens de bewindsman eind 2014 voltooid zijn.

De verklaring van Panetta:

Statement from Secretary Panetta on Recovery of Surge Forces in Afghanistan

“This week, the ongoing effort in Afghanistan marked an important milestone: the United States military has completed drawing down the surge forces President Obama committed in December of 2009, reducing our presence by 33,000 troops on schedule. As we reflect on this moment, it is an opportunity to recognize that the surge accomplished its objectives of reversing Taliban momentum on the battlefield, and dramatically increased the size and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). This growth has allowed us and our ISAF Coalition partners to begin the process of transition to Afghan security lead, which will soon extend across every province and more than 75 percent of the Afghan population. At the same time, we have struck enormous blows against al Qaeda's leadership, consistent with our core goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda and denying it a safe-haven.

“It is important to underscore that even as our surge troops return home, there are roughly 68,000 Americans who remain in a tough fight in Afghanistan, alongside their NATO and Afghan partners. We are a nation at war. But the international community is also strongly united behind our shared strategy to transition to Afghan security control, which will be completed by the end of 2014.”

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