Obama opts for faster Afghan pullout

The New York Times reports:

President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision. These troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they reflect mounting political and economic pressures at home, as the president faces relentless budget pressures and an increasingly restive Congress and American public.

The president is scheduled to speak about the Afghanistan war from the White House at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Mr. Obama’s decision is a victory for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long argued for curtailing the American military engagement in Afghanistan. But it is a setback for his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who helped write the Army’s field book on counterinsurgency policy, and who is returning to Washington to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces for as long as possible, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent combat.

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One thought on “Obama opts for faster Afghan pullout

  1. BillVZ

    The frame work of this ‘pull out’ as is the political rhetoric is another variation of the familiar tune in Iraq that the former administration was playing.
    Leave it to the NYT to put the ‘disappointing’ the military spin on it.
    Victory for VP Biden and a strong pre-election propaganda for the President.Set back for the newly appointed director of the CIA- hardly.
    According to an article by Gareth Porter “the 33,000 surge troops may be gone by 2012 but it still leaves the original core of troops in place for a indefinite transition ‘security’ role beyond 2014- ‘the best choice’ goal of both Gates and Patraeus .

    Of course all of this hype is for the DC crowd hard to believe the audience of his TV would swallow “The tide of war is receding” promising that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will both come ( someday,eventually) to a “responsible end.”


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