June 21, 2011 by staff
Afghanistan Drawdown, President Obama spent several weeks in 2009 to develop a battle plan that could win Afghan consensus of his senior generals. The centerpiece was a promise to start drawing the troops in July 2011. But it was never clear that Obama would be able to maintain the consensus that came up to date. From the beginning, many in the Pentagon, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates hinted that a commitment to draw down could be much more symbolic than substantive.
We now know that President Obama will announce his decision Wednesday. TIME, Mark Thompson, along Battleland, reports on what the Pentagon readers of tealeaves are waiting to hear.
Pentagon officials are looking to cut at least 3,000 to 5,000 support troops later this year, though many believe the President doubled to 10,000. Then, they suggest, the strength of U.S. troops plateau at 90,000 fighting season next year, when they start to fall again as Obama’s reelection campaign enters its final week. In late 2012, the 30,000 “surge” of troops ordered to Afghanistan in late 2009 they must all be at home, some Pentagon officials believe.
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