South Asia

In quotes: Afghan withdrawal

A selection of quotes from world leaders on the announced withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

US President Barack Obama

In Afghanistan, we have inflicted serious losses on the Taliban and taken a number of their strongholds. Along with our surge, our allies also increased their commitments, which helped stabilise more of the country.

After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support.

We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Given the progress we have seen [in Afghanistan], France will begin a gradual withdrawal of reinforcement troops sent to Afghanistan, in a proportional manner and in a timeframe comparable to the withdrawal of American reinforcements.

In consultation with the government, the president confirmed that France remained fully committed with its allies alongside the Afghan people to bring to its conclusion the transition process.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

The people of Afghanistan will be protecting their homeland. The transition of the security and the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan means the Afghan forces must be strengthened.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan once again wants to make it clear that the solution for the Afghan crisis lies in the full withdrawal of all foreign troops immediately and until this... happens, our armed struggle will increase from day to day.

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

We can see the tide is turning. The Taliban are under pressure. The Afghan security forces are getting stronger every day. And the transition to Afghan security lead is on track to be completed in 2014.

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

We all want our troops to come home as soon as possible, but we shouldn't adhere to an arbitrary timetable.