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Obama's Afghan Drawdown

9:19 AM, Jun 21, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Los Angeles Times confirms that President Obama will announce an Afghan troop drawdown tomorrow:

President Obama plans to announce a troop reduction in Afghanistanthat Pentagon and other administration officials say is expected to bring home about 10,000 personnel by the end of the year.

In a speech to be delivered Wednesday, the president is expected to declare that successes in disrupting Al Qaeda's ability to stage attacks against the United States allow him to begin reducing troop levels, said the officials, who cautioned that Obama was still "finalizing" his decision.

In 2009 the president coupled his decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan with a pledge to begin removing some of those forces this summer. U.S. officials and outside experts familiar with recent deliberations said Obama was leaning toward withdrawing all the additional troops by the end of 2012 or early 2013. That would leave close to 70,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Withdrawing 10,000 or so troops this year represents a steeper drawdown than Gen. David H. Petraeus and senior Pentagon officials preferred. The Pentagon had been hoping to limit the initial withdrawal to 3,000 to 4,000.

This comports with what THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported yesterday:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that President Obama will announce his decision about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan this week—most likely Tuesday or Wednesday.

The president has apparently rejected his vice president’s recommendation that the U.S. move simply to counter-terrorism efforts and abandon the full civil-military counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan. THE WEEKLY STANDARD has further been told that Obama's drawdown could be as large as ten thousand troops this summer, another ten thousand early or mid-next year, and the rest of the surge forces by the end of 2012.

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