Defense officials have been quoted as saying that Mr. Obama will call for an initial withdrawal of about 10 percent of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with 5,000 troops to leave first, followed by another 5,000 before the year’s end.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the president will explain how he will implement the strategy he outlined for Afghanistan in December 2009, when he approved a surge of 30,000 troops and promised the first American forces would leave in 18 months.
U.S. officials say the remainder of the surge, some 20,000 American troops, may leave Afghanistan by the end of 2012. Carney called early reports of the size and speed of the withdrawal “speculation.” (Source: Voice of America)
President Barack Obama’s expected announcement that more than 30,000 troops will be out of Afghanistan by election day 2012 smacks political calculation rather than military judgement. (Source: Telegraph UK)
As US President Barack Obama announces specifics of a troop withdrawal, Afghan forces are preparing to take their country on by themselves.
While the move will shift resources in some ways, the foreign forces have much stronger fire power and a larger wealth of other resources.
In the meantime, NATO and US troops will continue to be stationed alongside some Afghan forces, although their role will not be for combat but rather for support and advice in the withdrawal transition.
By the end of 2014, when NATO forces are planning to be withdrawn completely, foreign forces hope that Afghan forces will be ready to secure their country on their own.
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports from Afghanistan. (Source: Al Jazeera | Video below)