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ISAF Spokesman Acknowledges Afghan Concern Over U.S. Exit Plan

Brigadier-General Eric Tremblay said Afghan troops will be taking on greater security responsibilities.
BRUSSELS -- The spokesman for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan has acknowledged Afghan concern over U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from the country in 2011, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

In an interview in Brussels, RFE/RL asked ISAF spokesman Brigadier-General Eric Tremblay about worries that Afghan Taliban would wait out the U.S. surge by crossing into Pakistan before returning to Afghanistan once U.S. troops begin to withdraw.

Tremblay said he thought that was a concern, but added that international forces in the months ahead would be building up Afghan forces in order to boost security.

"Even if the insurgents are deciding to go and park themselves in the remote areas and wait for conditions to change, the reality is the situation is improving because there's more Afghan national security forces, there's better governance, there's better development, there's a better network of Afghans ready to make a difference...for their country," Tremblay said. "So, if this is what the insurgents want to do, it would make our job easier."

Obama on December 1 announced plans to send another 30,000 troops to help fight the Taliban insurgency. He also said the United States could start withdrawing troops in 18 months.