Archive for troop withdrawal

U.S. force in Afghanistan may be smaller than expected after 2014


Via Kevin Frayer/Associated Press

Despite some commanders saying more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan, President Obama could very well keep the numbers much lower than they'd prefer, per the L.A. Times:

The Obama administration plans on keeping 6,000 to 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistanafter 2014, fewer than previously reported, and will confine most of them to fortified garrisons near the capital, leaving Afghan troops largely without American advisors in the field to fight a still-powerful insurgency, U.S. officials said.

Although it is not final, contours of the plan have become increasingly clear in the weeks since President Obama's reelection. Officials close to the discussions say the final U.S. presence will be substantially smaller than the 15,000 troops senior commanders have sought to keep after most of the 68,000 remaining American troops leave in the next two years. [...]

Bagram will become the hub for U.S. special operations teams charged with tracking and killing members of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, the chief American military mission after the drawdown. Bagram also will be the main air base for U.S. drones and other combat aircraft in Afghanistan, the officials said.

Zero troops would be a good number, too. In fact, it seems President Obama agrees, but unfortunately, that's just wishful thinking:

"One of the things that Obama and Karzai have always agreed on is the need for a reduced force presence," a U.S. official said. "I could see them both wanting zero, but at the end of the day I don't think that will happen."

Details here.


VIDEO: President Obama Addresses the Nation, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan




Click for more analysis here:

During a surprise visit Tuesday to Afghanistan, where he signed an agreement outlining the U.S. role there after most NATO forces leave in 2014, President Barack Obama said he knew many Americans are tired of the war, but underscored a need to "finish the job."

"Our goal is to destroy al-Qaida, and we are on a path to do exactly that," Mr. Obama said. The election-year speech aired live in the U.S. during prime-time hours.

Watch the president's full speech above.


LIVE VIDEO FEED: President Obama Addresses the Nation, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan 7:30 PM EDT



President Obama to address nation at 7:30PM ET from Afghanistan after arriving on unannounced visit


Via an email alert:

President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan today, marking the first anniversary of the raid that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden with a visit to sign a strategic partnership with President Hamid Karzai to guide relations after U.S. troops withdraw in 2014.

Aides said Obama would make a live televised address to the American people at 4:30 p.m. PDT from Bagram Air Base.

The president's trip, his first to Afghanistan since December 2010, was arranged in secrecy. It comes a day after the president denied that he or his aides were engaging in "excessive celebration" on the anniversary of the raid on Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

More soon at

UPDATE: U.S. troops will be in Afghanistan until 2024, when support ends, per MSNBC.