U.S. Troops In Afghanistan Celebrate Thanksgiving - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

U.S. Troops In Afghanistan Celebrate Thanksgiving

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U.S. soldiers pray before eating a Thanksgiving meal at a dining hall at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. (Musadeq Sadeq/AP) U.S. soldiers pray before eating a Thanksgiving meal at a dining hall at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. (Musadeq Sadeq/AP)

Around 100 U.S soldiers stationed at NATO headquarters in the Afghan capital Kabul marked the Thanksgiving holiday thousands of miles away from home on Thursday.

A buffet with savoury and sweet dishes was laid out for the troops, who celebrated the holiday over dinner with colleagues, took photos and sent greetings to their families and loved ones back home.

"I just want to give a shout out to my lovely wife, family, my kids Evan and Katelyn, all the Gearys there in Louisville, Kentucky my friends and all my family in southern Indiana. Love you, miss you, eat lots the turkey from me and I will see you very soon," said Major Bob Geary from the U.S. Air Force.

"I want to say happy Thanksgiving to my lovely wife Star and my son Zachary, and my brother-in-law and all the rest of my family," said Stephens Haroth from the U.S. Navy.

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the last Thursday in November and it is observed as a national holiday across the U.S.

There are currently still 47,000 American forces in Afghanistan, where U.S. and other foreign troops have been since the routing of the Taliban by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

The United States has been in discussions with Afghan officials about keeping a small residual force of about 8,000 troops there after it winds down operations next year.

U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, have said the bilateral security deal with Afghanistan must be signed by the end of the year to begin preparations for a post-2014 presence.

There was much dismay in Kabul this week after Afghan President Hamid Karzai over-rode the near-unanimous decision of an assembly of nearly 3,000 Afghan tribal elders to back the agreement and introduced new conditions.

Diplomats said Karzai may have over-played his hand, raising the risk of a complete U.S. withdrawal from the insurgency-plagued country where Western troops have fought Taliban militants for the past 12 years. It also risks a backlash at home by critics who believe he is playing a dangerous game with the country's future security.

If the bilateral pact is not signed, Western aid running to billions of dollars will be in serious jeopardy, and confidence in the already fragile economy could collapse amid fears that the country will slip back into ethnic fighting or civil war.

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