Panetta hails 'last chapter' of efforts to make Afghanistan 'secure, sovereign'

ANI

London, Jan 11 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has hailed what he describes 'the last chapter' of a long struggle to effort to make Afghanistan secure and sovereign.

Panetta said 'after a long and difficult past, both the countries are at the last chapter of establishing a sovereign Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself for the future.'

His remarks came as he welcomed Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the Pentagon for talks, the BBC reports.

According to the report, Panetta thanked Karzai for visiting US and Afghan wounded at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, saying the two countries had "created a bond that will not be broken in the future" after fighting side by side.

Karzai sought to assure Americans that Afghanistan would soon be able to provide for its own security and would never again be threatened by "terrorists from across our borders".

On Tuesday, the White House said it was possible that no US troops would remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

President Obama is planning to pull most of the 66,000 US troops out of Afghanistan - well down from a high of about 100,000. (ANI)

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