President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday nightt his plan to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year and 20,000 by the end of the following summer, multiple outlets reported.
Taken together, the two phases will remove from Afghanistan the entirety of the surge that Obama deployed in 2009 as he sought to quell a growing Taliban resistance. In both the size and the pace of the withdrawal, Obama is breaking with military commanders who have sought a more incremental approach. Still, even after the surge withdrawal is finished there will still be about 70,000 troops in Afghanistan, roughly twice as many as when Obama took office. This summer, 5,000 troops will ship out, and another 5,000 will join them by the end of this year.
Obama is choosing to accelerate the rate of withdrawal amidst vocal Congressional pressure to end the conflict in Afghanistan, which has lasted longer than any military engagement in U.S. history. The death of Osama Bin Laden has amplified calls to extricate the U.S. from Afghanistan, as has the soaring price tag.
From a fiscal standpoint, we're spending too much money on Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior administration official told the New york Times. There's a belief from a fiscal standpoint that this is cannibalizing too much of our spending.