US May Slow Down the Troop Pullout from Afghanistan
Saturday 14 March 2015
(AP) – The United States is expected to slow its troop pullout plans and let many of the 9,800 soldiers stay in Afghanistan well into 2016, a media report said on Saturday.
The Obama administration is abandoning plans to cut the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to 5,500 by year’s end, bowing to military leaders who want to keep more troops, including many into the 2016 fighting season, U.S. officials say. While no final decision on numbers has been made, the officials said the administration is poised to slow withdrawal plans and probably will allow many of the 9,800 American troops to remain well into next year. There also are discussions about keeping a steady number of counterterrorism troops into 2015, including options under which some would remain in the country or be nearby beyond 2016.
On 22 June 2011, Obama addressed the nation from the White House and announced that 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2011 and an additional 23,000 troops will leave the country by the summer of 2012. He said the drawdown would continue “at a steady pace” until the United States handed over security to the Afghan authorities in 2014. “We are starting this drawdown from a position of strength”, Obama said. “Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.” Asserting that the country that served as a base for the 11 September 2001 attacks no longer represented a terrorist threat to the United States, Obama declared that the “tide of war is receding”. This original plan would reduce the number of U.S. troops to 5,500 by the end of 2015, and take all but a routine, embassy-based security force out by the end of 2016. The embassy security mission varies widely around the world, but could total 1,000 troops.