June 22 - Kabul residents express mixed views on their country's future security ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement of a withdrawal plan. Simon Hanna reports.
As Afghanistan looks to begin a new stage in its history, the streets of Kabul see expressions of both optimism and doubt. U.S. President Barack Obama is set to unveil his plan to start bringing U.S. troops home - possibly as many as 10-thousand by the end of the year. The move signals a significant step in the U.S.'s broader withdrawal blueprint, and brings the handover to local security one step closer, drawing a mixed reaction from Afghans. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) KABUL RESIDENT ABDUL HADI: "I am happy to see foreign troops leaving our country, as our security forces are capable enough to fill the gap and take control of our homeland." (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) KABUL RESIDENT MIRWAIS KHAN: "I am happy to see the troops pull out, but in the meantime I am worried because our leaders do not have the courage to defend our provinces if the foreigners leave." Foreign troops are indeed leaving, but it will be a phased withdrawal. Afghan troops like these will be in charge of local security, but not until 2014. Some doubt that the local military is up to the task, but foreign forces have also struggled. Almost a decade after the September 11th attacks that triggered the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgency has yet to be defeated, and violence has surged along the Pakistan border. Simon Hanna, Reuters.