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    Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani points while speaking during a news conference in Kabul

    Afghan President Says US Should Reexamine Troop Withdrawal Deadline

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    The US mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to end in December 2016.

    MOSCOW, January 5 (Sputnik) – The existing timetable of the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan should be reexamined, Ashraf Ghani, the country’s president, told CBS.

    "Deadlines concentrate the mind. But deadlines should not be dogmas," Ashraf Ghani told CBS' 60 Minutes. "If both parties, or, in this case, multiple partners, have done their best to achieve the objectives and progress is very real, then there should be willingness to re-examine a deadline," he added.

    Ghani has not shared this with US President Barack Obama. "President Obama knows me. We don't need to tell each other," Ghani stressed.
    The White House, the US State Department, or the Pentagon have not commented on Ghani’s remarks, according to Fox News.

    On January 1, 2015, the Resolute Support mission replaced the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US to tackle insurgency in Afghanistan. Approximately 13,500 NATO soldiers, mostly from the US, will remain in the country to train and mentor Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

    The US mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to be over in December 2016. However, the Afghan forces, numbering almost 350,000 people, have been responsible for the country’s security since the summer of 2013.

    Ghani also has a strong message to those, who threaten Afghanistan’s security. "Do not ever threaten an Afghan with violence. We will rise as one and we will face every threat the way we have taken on thousands of previous armies and conquerors," Ghani told CBS.

    U.S. Army Cpl. William Metz, a Clearwater, Fla., native, now a team leader and adviser with 3rd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, watches as Afghan National Army recruits finish a march at the Kabul Military Training Center
    © Flickr / The U.S. Army
    "This is the moment of destiny. Work with us to transform Asia but should you threaten our existence everybody will be destroyed, not just us," he added, smiling.

    The change of the mission from ISAF to Resolute Support comes amid fears of growing insurgency in the country. A record number of civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 by the end of November, according to the UN. In the same timeframe, Afghan security forces lost over 4,600 people, as reported by AFP.

    Related:

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    UAV Strikes to Continue in Afghanistan Despite Mission End: Former Official
    Afghan Forces Prepared to Take Lead in Providing Country's Security: ISAF
    NATO Mission Fails to Cripple Opium Trade in Afghanistan: Expert
    Tags:
    Resolute Support, troops, Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF), Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan, United States
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