June 23 - Residents of Helmand province welcome the imminent withdrawal of US troops, whereas some in Kabul sound a note of warning. Nick Rowlands reports.
Residents in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province on Thursday welcome the imminent withdrawal of US troops. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) HELMAND PROVINCE RESIDENT MOHAMMAD ESYA: "We are happy for our Afghan police forces to take control. We don't like foreign troops to search our houses, we are happy they are leaving.' (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) HELMAND PROVINCE RESIDENT ABDUL SALAM: "We are happy that our police forces are taking control of security in Lashkar Gah. I hope that our security forces take a larger control of other areas." The reactions come after president Barack Obama announced on Wednesday his plan for ending the long, costly war. 10,000 troops will be withdrawn by the end of the year, around 23,000 by the end of next summer, and there will be a steady withdrawal of remaining troops after that. But not all Afghans are happy at the departure of foreign troops, as this resident of the capital Kabul explains. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) RESIDENT OF KABUL MIRWAIS ADEBYAR: "We don't want the complete pull out of foreign troops at this moment, because there will be more problems and an increase of violence in the country. I hope the foreign troops realize these problems and start pulling out gradually until our forces are strong and our economy is better." The US and other Western countries have poured billions of dollars into the country, but with mixed results. Corruption remains rampant, and Afghan president Hamid Karzai's increasing criticism of coalition forces has escalated tensions with Washington. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.