US President Barack Obama believes that July 2011 is the point when American troops will begin withdrawing from the country with Afghan security forces gradually taking over, the White House said today.

“July 2011 is the point in which the President believes our troops are going to begin to transition out and the responsibility of security is beginning to go in certain places to Afghans, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

“A conditions-based drawdown will begin in July 2011,” Gibbs said.

“We are transitioning, in July 2011, from Americans providing the primary security -- we are giving that responsibility to an Afghan national security force that we have trained over this 18 to 24-month period, putting them in the lead and transitioning our forces out,” he added.

In a speech on Tuesday, Obama announced sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and simultaneously announced his decision to start withdrawal of troops.

However, the pace of transition would depend on the conditions on the ground at that time, the White House spokesman said.

Meanwhile, in a testimony before a Congressional committee, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said: “This approach is not open-ended nation-building. It’s neither necessary nor feasible to create a modern, centralised Western-style Afghan nation state, the likes of which has never been seen in that country.”

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