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Some U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan till 2024 to prevent Taliban takeover: Crocker

Washington, Tue, 17 Jul 2012 ANI

Washington, July 17 (ANI): A U.S. plan, outlined recently in the U.S. media, has stated that American troops will stay in Afghanistan until 2024 as Washington will not allow the Taliban to take over that country.

The Obama administration's new Afghan policy has now also been confirmed by the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker, reports The Dawn.

Crocker has said the American military, including some combat troops, will stay in Afghanistan for at least 10 years after the expected U.S. withdrawal in 2014.

According to U.S. media reports, the troops will include Special Forces soldiers and an effective air power to contain the rebels.

Crocker added that the new plan was also acceptable to Pakistan, which recently allowed two Taliban representatives to travel to Japan to attend a June 28 international conference on Afghanistan.

He noted that the Kyoto meeting might have had some tacit support from Pakistan, where much of the top Taliban leadership is based.

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, he said, was likely keeping tabs on insurgents and their travels.

"They had to get out of Pakistan to get there. My guess is that the ISI said, 'OK'," Crocker said.

He gave two reasons for this change in the ISI's and Taliban's attitude: One, Pakistan is increasingly feeling the 'blowback' of terrorism, two, the U.S. plan to stay in Afghanistan at least up to 2024.

The U.S. plan, he argued, had made it abundantly clear that Washington would not accept a Taliban takeover in Kabul. (ANI)



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