Karzai welcomes British pullout from Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with German's President Joachim Gauck, unseen, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. German president, Joachim Gauck said that after 2014, Germany we will play a major role in Afghanistan, providing training for the Afghan security forces while helping the Afghan people with development and reconstruction projects. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan president says he welcomes the withdrawal of nearly half of Great Britain's troops from Afghanistan next year. Hamid Karzai says his forces are ready to take on defense of the country.

A statement from the president's office on Thursday said the partial pull-out is an "appropriate" move as NATO forces hand over the war against the Taliban to the Afghan military.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Wednesday that about 3,800 British troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2013, leaving some 5,000 into 2014.

The majority of NATO forces, including those of the United States, will depart by the end of 2014.