Kabul: Afghan government Wednesday welcomed US president’s plan to keep about 9,800 troops after 2014 in Afghanistan but virtually withdrawing all by the end of 2016.

“The United States government announced that, within a schedule, it will reduce to zero the number of its combat troops in Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan welcomes this decision by the United States,” Xinhua quoted a statement issued by Afghan Presidential Palace as saying.

“When the government of Afghanistan first launched the security transition from foreign to Afghan forces, the intent was that the security and protection for Afghanistan be provided by its own forces. The process went ahead as planned and yielded the result,” it said.

President Barack Obama Tuesday announced a plan for keeping 9,800 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, but virtually withdrawing all by the end of 2016 and thus brings to end the America’s longest war.

Over 52,000 NATO-ISAF forces with some 33,000 of them Americans are presently stationed in Afghanistan.

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