The Taliban has condemned a new plan for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as "continued occupation," while the two candidates in the country's upcoming presidential election have yet to officially comment.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on May 27 that he would push for a force of 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014. By the end of 2015, their presence would be reduced to roughly half and most U.S. troops would leave by the end of 2016.
In a statement, the Taliban said it considers the U.S. troop presence a "violation of sovereignty, religion, and human rights."
Spokespeople for both candidates in next month's presidential runoff -- former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani -- say the two campaigns are studying the plan.
A NATO spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, said Obama's statement is consistent with plans by the alliance for a training and support mission beyond 2014.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP