U.S. 'surge' forces could leave Afghanistan by end of 2012, source says
About 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan could be coming home by the end of next year, an Obama administration official says.
June 21st, 2011
09:06 AM ET

U.S. 'surge' forces could leave Afghanistan by end of 2012, source says

[Updated at 9:06 a.m. ET] President Barack Obama is presently mulling how many troops to bring home this summer and how many to bring home late next year, a source says.

He is expected to discuss preserving flexibility in force levels on the ground so commanders can adjust as conditions warrant, an administration official said.

The drawdown will involve both bringing troops home without replacing them as well as canceling some proposed deployments.

Bringing the troops home by late 2012 would give U.S. forces another two fighting seasons before coming home, sources say.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans polled this month said they support the United States pulling some or all of its forces from Afghanistan, and the figure has jumped 10 points since May, likely as a result of Osama bin Laden's death, pollsters said.

[Posted at 8:47 a.m. ET] President Barack Obama is expected to announce the approval of a plan that would result in the 30,000 U.S. "surge" forces being withdrawn completely from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, an administration official said.

An estimated 100,000 U.S. troops are serving in Afghanistan, and about 30,000 of them were part of the 2009 surge, aimed at snuffing rising violence in the country.

Obama had previously said those troops would begin coming home in July and indicated the number would be "significant."

The president has expressed confidence that the U.S. can meet a self-imposed deadline to bring U.S. troops back from Afghanistan without compromising Afghan security. Military commanders and government officials, however, have raised concerns about the readiness of Afghan security forces.

The White House said Monday that Obama is scheduled to give a speech on the withdrawal on Wednesday.

Read CNN's full coverage of the Afghanistan troop withdrawal announcement
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Pentagon • World
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. A GREAT REPUBLICAN

    Barack Obama's Presidency will also end in 2012. Here comes President Palin.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Peace prevail

    Won't work, has never worked before – I guess he's being ambitious, unless he is able to replace them with Chinese soldiers, if that does happen then you know what the Chinese shall support terrorism, or maybe he shall increase troops in other middle eastern nations such as Syria...

    June 21, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ben

    The president is playing political games with the lives US soldiers. This is disgusting and anyone, regarless of party, should see this and be enraged. The press should to...

    June 21, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Bring it on Sarah.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. David

    Firstly, I would like to say to all of you that have an opinion about everything that unless you personally have been to either Iraq or Afghanistan and fought in pro taliban villages against the Taliban then you haven't earned the right to an opinion about the war. Troops have to remain in place for a reason obviously that's why we have maintained a residual force in Iraq and that is why we need troops in Afghanistan. I finished off a year tour as a civilian contractor hunting for the IED's the taliban was placing in the ground as a mission bomb dog handler and my comment to everybody is why are we talking about troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. If anything we need more troops than what was given during the "surge"! So please stop making useless unearned comments if you haven't been there personally and seen the conditions on the ground for yourself!

    June 21, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • DavidName*

      You know what... Just noticed how much of a puss face I sound... Sorry for my above post. Stupid of me.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosiepose

      Oh, David, I feel sooooooo bad that you had to suffer the pains of war. But this is about Obama and the fact that millions of people don't trust him anymore...........thank you for all that you tired to do for your country........Many Blesings to you............

      June 21, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • michaelfury

      "If anything we need more troops than what was given during the 'surge'"

      Way more. Just to hold the pipeline corridors.

      http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/the-gas-must-flow/

      June 21, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lando

    Does anyone else find it a little ironic that the President who campaigned on a troop withdrawal agenda is now indicating that by the time he completes his term in office the troop level will 'get down' to the same level as his first day in office?

    June 21, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosiepose

      YES !!!!

      June 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • THINK

      Does anyone find it ironic that both parties provide promises and then NEVER follow through?

      June 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. JBYJ

    Time to work on problems at home, before we work on the world's!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bryan

    This is good because the rest of NATO needs to take shared responsibility for the the world's security and well-being. The United States really is taking on the role of the world's police more and more on the taxpayers' dime. (i.e. Libya) and instead of Europe showing appreication for our assistance they just criticize us for being bullies. Let some of these European allies take some more responsibility for their own defense

    June 21, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. A great democrat

    If his Presidency ends in 2012 it will not be to Palin. She has no intelligence, she just likes to hear herself talk.

    June 21, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosiepose

      I triple agree!!!!

      June 21, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ron

    This headline should be something like "Very large numbers of US troops to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely." What national security interest do we have in saving Afghanistan, and what chance of success do we have given the British experience in the 19th century and the Russian experience in the 1980s? If CNN was unsympathetic to Obama, the headline could easily read "Obama committed to keeping US in Pit of Despair as long as he remains President."

    June 21, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rosiepose

    Could this be a ploy to win the election in 2012??? Mmmmmmmmmmm.....

    June 21, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • slimebait

      bet this negor is out on his ear in the 2012 erection!

      June 21, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. slimebait

    CNN= the COLORED NEGOR NETWORK!

    June 21, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    US Presidents have been playing with soldiers lives for a long time, I hope you don't think this is the first one? I don't agree with President Obama on some things but he is not the one who got us in this mess. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, maybe we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now. Afghanistan is a losing proposition, a country torn apart by tribes, poverty, poppy and massive greed and corruption. I guess we didn't our history lessons too well. Look at how Russia did. John.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. fred

    That should give Uncle Sam enough time to replace returning troops with paid militia. Private contractors are considerably more expensive than uniformed soldiers, but that's the price you pay for their freedom.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    President Obama has had to review the various stages of the troops withdrawl. This is a strategic draw down which is smart move. He has attempted to boost the economy as well but big businesses continue to hold there Billions of dollars in profit over the past 3 years. How about people trying to rally around President Obama instead of negativeness that does absolutely nothing for America!!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
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