Now that’s not a FULL PULL OUT……
But the US ….
Under intense pressure from its ALLIES…
Not the Afghans …..
I making this move…..
As in the Iraqi de-escalation….
This WILL help the President somewhat politically even though he he’d rather keep going….
But in this heighten political season….
The wars have become forgotten issues with the American public….
Obama WILL be able to campaign on dropping war costs……
And you can bet the Republicans will be bitching about this draw down…
The shift to an advisory mission in Afghanistan is similar to the approach used in Iraq, where U.S. troops pulled out of major cities and focused on training Iraqi troops more than a year before leaving for good.
An emphasis on training could keep more troops on bases and help reduce U.S. casualties. The advisory effort would put small teams of U.S. troops with Afghan units to help them plan operations and to call in air support and artillery fire if needed.
It remains unclear how capable the Afghan army and police, which are plagued by corruption, operational and personnel problems, will be to assume the main responsibility for fighting the Taliban and other insurgents.
Panetta said U.S. combat troops would remain until the end of 2014, as previously announced, but mainly in a support role.
“Our goal is to complete all of that transition in 2013, and hopefully by mid- to the latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role,” Panetta told reporters traveling on his plane.
The U.S. is already in the midst of a drawdown of its force in Afghanistan, which peaked at about 100,000 troops before a first contingent of 10,000 left last year. The number is to fall to 68,000 by autumn, but Panetta said President Obama had not yet decided how many U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014.
Afghan forces already have assumed control in Kabul, the capital, and some other areas, but those were already largely peaceful. The U.S. and its allies retain military responsibility for the most violent parts of the country.Share on Facebook