United States President Barack Obama declared Thursday that a peace deal on the part of the Taliban with the Afghan government is the only way for a complete withdrawal of American troops from the country.
While announcing his new plan on delaying the current troop level draw down in Afghanistan, Obama said he would discuss the issue of peace with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif next week.
"By now it should be clear to Taliban and all who oppose Afghanistan's progress the only real way to achieve the full draw down of US and foreign troops from Afghanistan is through a lasting political settlement with the Afghan government," Obama declared.
He also urged that all the Taliban and terrorists' sanctuaries must be eliminated in Afghanistan.
"Next week I will host Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan and I will continue to urge all parties in the region to press the Taliban to return to peace talks and to do their part in pursue to the peace that Afghans deserve," Obama continued.
After days of speculation about the Obama administration's review of downsizing troops, the U.S president reversed his policy on Afghanistan and announced the current posture of troops – 9,800 – will stay in the country through the end of 2016.
Also he announced that a total of 5,500 soldiers will stay in Afghanistan after 2016, when he leaves office.
During his speech, Obama praised the capability of the Afghan forces and said the forces were now able to defend their country on their own.
In addition, he urged the Afghan government for good governance and anti-corruption efforts. "As I told President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah yesterday, efforts that deliver progress and justice for the Afghan people will continue to have the strong support of the United States," Obama said. "We cannot separate the importance of governance with the issues of security. The more effective these reforms happen, the better of the security situation it is going to be." As speculated, Obama reversed his previous troop plan made in March which was to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2015.
The move has however been welcomed by the government and people of Afghanistan. NATO has also welcomed Obama's decision on delaying the draw down of troops in Afghanistan.