President Barack Obama has announced that 9,800 US troops will remain in Afghanistan after combat missions end later this year.
The decision is contingent on Afghanistan’ s new president signing the Bilateral Security Agreement after the country’s presidential election set for June 14.
Sitting President Hamid Karzai has refused.
In an interview with euronews Mohammad Omar Daudzai, Afghanistan’s interior minister, says both candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will sign:“Both candidates have promised that whoever becomes president will sign the agreement in the first week in office and I am sure the US and the Europeans will have nothing to worry about.”
On the streets of the capital Kabul there is a distinct lack of trust in the United States:
“We expect 40,000 troops to stay here no matter what Obama says,” said one Afghan.
Another agreed:“We have our own Afghan security forces to defend our country . The presence of Americans here brings misery and conflict:”
Those US troops that remain will bolster the Afghan army and support counter-terrorism operations.