President Obama is still mulling his options as he prepares to announce a schedule for withdrawing the 33,000 additional troops he committed to Afghanistan upon assuming office.
Obama's options range from only pulling out 5,000 troops to removing the entire surge force from the country, according to the New York Times. His decision will weigh both internal and external pressures on how to manage America's presence in Afghanistan, as Osama Bin Laden's death generates serious debate about of the aims and goals of the mission.
A contingent in Congress and in his own administration, including Vice President Joseph Biden, is calling for a drastic curtailing of U.S. troops there. Several Republican presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, have issued a similar call. Others, including outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates and prominent Senate Republicans like John McCain (R-AZ), have warned that drawing down troops too hastily risks compromising gains in security and in diminishing the Taliban's reach.
No matter what Obama decides, a substantial number of troops will remain. Even if he withdraws the entirety of the surge force, the remaining 68,000 troops will be double the amount there when he assumed office, a testament to the fact that Obama has made a muscular Afghanistan strategy a centerpiece of his foreign policy.
Obama will announce his plans in a speech tomorrow night.