Rajiv Chandrasekaran, from the Washington Post writes that the president will announce a steep reduction in the US troop presence in Afghanistan by this time next year. 34,000 says Chandrasekaran of the 66,000 currently involved in operations there today;
The officers, including Gen. John R. Allen, who relinquished command of the war Sunday, had favored a reduction of no more than 25,000 troops this year, leaving about 40,000 in Afghanistan in 2014 to continue training local security forces and provide security for the country’s next presidential election, which is scheduled for April 2014.
“This is steeper than we had hoped for,” said a senior U.S. official aligned with the military leadership.
But many of the president’s top civilian national security advisers believe that removing about half of the troops this year will leave enough forces to train the Afghan army and assist it in providing security for the election.
So, just like the surge, when the CIA and the Generals told the president that if he wanted the surge to work, he’d need to send 66,000 troops and he sent 30,000 – now they tell him he needs to reduce the troop presence by now more that 24,000, so he ups the number because his civilian advisers tell him that’s good enough. Ya know, because Valerie Jarret knows more about what the commanders need in Afghanistan than those commanders.
Besides, the main goal here is withdrawal – not anything that can be construed to be a victory. Next thing you know he’ll be telling us that the Afghans are going to be providing security for the force we leave behind.