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Barack Obama is expected to announce the approval of a plan that would result in the 30,000 U.S. "surge" forces being withdrawn completely from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, an administration official said.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. michaelfury

    "The momentum of Asia’s economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea."

    – Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1997

    "I've learned an immense amount from Dr. Brzezinski."

    – Barack Obama, 2007


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

    Think everyone long and hard about what would you do if you knew other countries were trying to provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups to attack the U.S.. Would you be so quick to bring the troops home. We should down size as needed. I have had 3 family members serve our Great Country. We have it better then a lot of other countries running pure water, selections of food daily and a lot of materialistic things. How about being greatful that you didn't wake up without those things. That is what being preserved and our freedom.

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

      Wasn't it Iraq which had the WMD? OOOOooopps..sorry..that was the Bush/Powell/Cheney lie that got us into invading Iraq. Anyway...as far as Afghanistan...the US, thanks to Jimmy Carter on the advise of Brzezinski, provided millions of US taxpayer $$$$ to assist bin Laden in overthrowing the Afghanistan Socialist government.


      June 21, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andrew

    End of 2012? Didn't he say July 2011? We're not leaving anytime soon. George W. Obama, the man of change...changing my mind to serve my masters.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew


    Afghanistan discovered oil....http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2010/08/20108159431776396.html

    June 21, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew

    @Jason G

    How has Obama stuck to his words? Troops are still in Iraq and the violence is, once again, escalating.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    After wasting 120 billion dollars of national treasure , sacrificing 1600 & counting American soldiers what have we to show in this longest running war in our history? That we got Osama Bin Laden and are now forced into negotiating with Talibans? The same folks who in 2009 had offered to hand over Osama to us if we could provide evidence that he was behind 9/11 attacks -= which of course we do not have.
    If you take a moment to dwell on this and what our political leadership got this nation into for Iraq invasion – you would wonder if we are the same nation that we are touted to be.
    Add to your thoughts the fact that we are already into fourth month of the Libyan 'campaign' ( read war ). NATO has flown 11000 missions of which 4,300 were strike on that small nation , with no end in sight and you would ( if you are a thinking American) sit up & contact your congressman in a hurry.

    June 21, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Well said and exactly the truth!

      June 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    With what has happened to the USA's collective mentality since Vietnam, it is possible that this country will never win another war.
    We may just keep paying troops to go overseas and crying to bring 'em home.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. saywhat

    sorry for the typo folks. Taliban had offered twice to hand over Osama Bin Laden to us in 2001. Bush rejected that offer.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    We started losing it when we began calling occupations "wars" like Joey above. The "wars" in Afghanistan have been over for years. Just as when Germany went to war with France, even though WW2 was still going on, we called it the German OCCUPATION of France. And just as the Nazi's installed a puppet government in France and maintained a military force to quell the French resistance, the US has installed a puppet in Afghanistan and maintains a military force to quell the Afghan resistance. We are not at war with Iraq and Afghanistan. We're just having the same problems any occupying force faces: the locals don't want you there and will harrass you till you leave or until they are all dead.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    @saywhat...actually the Bush admin. made a legal and binding treaty with the Taliban government of Afghanistan whereby US forces would be allowed to enter and capture the Bin Laden gang. But instead of going after Bin Laden, they went after the Taliban government, conquered it and installed a puppet (karzai) who would allow Bush's Carlyle Group to build pipelines through Afghanistan.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    And that is why there never was and still isn't an "exit strategy". You don't build the largest foreign embassy in US history because you are planning on leaving soon. (the US embassy in Iraq) And who builds an embassy before the war is even over? Nobody. That embassy was built after the war was over and the occupation had been established. The troops will never be coming home unless they can be replaced with corporate armies/soldiers of fortune.

    June 21, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. dan ehrlich

    Great! That will mean just about 100,000 troopswill still be ther fighting an uwinnable war in a non country. Considering most of terrorist we seek are in Pakistan, our ally, andin about four other countries, the only concrete reason for being in Afghanistan is to keep women from being forced to wear burkas. http://www.hard-truths.blogspot.com

    June 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    Bush led us to war in Afganistan & Iraq in 2001 & 2003. He had plenty of opportunities to bring our troops home, but he Cheney & Rumsfeldt said we would be there at least 10yrs. Cheney said 100yrs., but that may have been a facetious statement. Because of our occupation, it has destabilized the area & also made the civilians dependent on us. That's why we can't bring all troops home , now, as some of you are demanding. Even an anti-war pacifist as me, realizes this is a delicate situation that must be handeled carefully! I do hope these wars have served as a lesson to not invade nations under any premise or excuse, & to think long & hard when NATO & the UN urges us to help allied forces to "dethrone" a dictator or other! We really need to concentrate on home & spend our $ towards that end! Let other nations care for their own!!

    June 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. joe

    Think you mean Barack Hussein Obama.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john

    @Barbf, Yes Iraq had WMD's, Hussein used them on the Kurds killing hundreds of thousands to millions of people.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
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