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US will stand by Afghanistan, Panetta tells Karzai

11 January, 2013

WASHINGTON: The United States sought to assure Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday that it would remain committed to his country even as US officials weigh a major withdrawal of American forces.

After an elaborate military ceremony for Karzai outside the Pentagon, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told his 'distinguished visitor' that more than 10 years of war had paved the way for Afghanistan to stand on its own.

"After a long and difficult past, we finally are, I believe, at the last chapter of establishing a sovereign Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself for the future," Panetta said. He also offered Karzai assurances that the future of the two countries was now entwined.

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