Afghan president welcomes Obama's decision on extension of U.S. troops' presence

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Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has welcomed the decision of his U.S. counterpart to maintain American troops' presence in Afghanistan into 2017, Arg, the country's Presidential Palace said on Thursday.

"Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani welcomed decision of President Barak Obama to authorize extension of U.S. troops in Afghanistan," said a statement posted in Arg's website.

On Wednesday, Obama announced that he will maintain about 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan into 2017 through the end of his administration. His original plan was to draw down U.S. troops in the militancy-hit country to 5,500 by the end of this year.

The decision showed continued partnership between United States and Afghanistan to pursue common interests and strengthen regional stability, the statement added.

Obama said the new decision was based on recommendation of U.S. military leaders and following extensive consultations with his national security team, as well as the Congress, the Afghan government and international partners.

The NATO and U.S. forces completed their combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after 13 years of military presence in the country.

Nearly 13,000 foreign forces, including some 9,800 U.S. troops, are currently stationed in Afghanistan within the framework of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission to help Afghan forces in the field of training and advising and backing Afghan troops in the war on insurgents. Enditem

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