House orders Pentagon to plan Afghan troop withdrawal
Earnest February 25, 2014
Media WASHINGTON—The White House says President Barack Obama has ordered the Pentagon to
prepare plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of
A White House statement said Obama ordered the move because
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has indicated he is unlikely to
sign a Bilateral Security Agreement that would allow the United States
to keep troops in Afghanistan after this year.
The statement added that should the Afghan government sign the accord,
the United States remained ready to keep a "limited" force in
Afghanistan after 2014 to focus on training Afghan forces and conducting
The statement said Obama had spoken with Karzai on February 25 by telephone.
Karzai, who is due to leave office after Afghanistan's April elections,
has sought several concessions from Washington over the security pact.
In other news, Afghan officials say at least eight people are dead and
dozens of others are injured following a suicide bomb attack in the
southern province of Oruzgan. Officials said the explosion took place on February 25 in the provincial capital, Tirin Kot.
Reports say civilians were among the victims. It wasn't immediately clear who was responsible for the blast.
Elsewhere, officials said three people were killed and three others
injured in a bomb blast in the Marjah district of the southern province
of Helmand. It was not immediately apparent who was behind the attack.