Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Obama declares Afghan draw down plan

US President Barack Obama delivers a televised address from the East Room of the White House on June 22, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Source: Press TV

US President Barack Obama has announced a plan to withdraw US surge troops from Afghanistan, amid increasing pressure on him to end the war.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, he declared that starting from next month the US will begin to withdraw the troops.

By the end of the year 10,000 troops will have been withdrawn and until the summer of 2012, a further 23,000 are expected to have been withdrawn, he said.

The US has some 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and over 1,500 US troops have been killed since the start of the war. There is not yet an official number of total Afghan deaths due to the war.

"This is the beginning -- but not the end -- of our effort to wind down this war," Obama said, stressing that challenges still remains in the war-torn country, Reuters reported.

Additionally, he explained how, despite the death of the former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, his group remains dangerous.

Obama also made it clear that all parties in country must abide by the Afghan Constitution if peace is to succeed.

Afghan security officials had earlier stated that they are ready for a troop draw down.

Obama further announced that the US will host a NATO meeting in May 2012, where the next phase of the military operation in Afghanistan will be shaped.

The move comes as the US economy has been in a bleak situation in recent years.

“Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war,” the US president said.

"We must invest in America's greatest resource - our people,” Obama stated.

He noted that the relocation of funds are intended to promote job creation and rebuild the country's infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke delivered another speech after a Fed meeting on Wednesday where he cut the US economic growth forecast for 2011 and 2012.

The US unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent, and as job creation has witnessed a slowdown, many have raised fears that another recession may be ahead.

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