White House: U.S. Will Have 9,800 Troops In Afghanistan After 2014

Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama

CBS News – President Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. plans to remove all troops from Afghanistan by 2016, starting with reducing the troop presence in the country to just 9,800 and an end to the U.S. combat mission at the close of 2014.

The move will mark the first time in Mr. Obama’s presidency that the U.S. has not had an active combat mission in a foreign country.

“We have now been in Afghanistan longer than many Americans expected but make no mistake: thanks to the skill and sacrifice of our troops, diplomats and intelligence professionals we have struck significant blows against al Qaeda’s leadership, we have eliminated Osama bin Laden and we’ve prevented Afghanistan from being used to launch attacks against our homeland,” the president said.

The U.S. will leave 9,800 troops in the country in 2015 with two narrow missions, according to the White House: continue supporting Afghan forces, who took the lead ins securing the country last year, and continuing to support counter terrorism operations against the remnants of al Qaeda.

The number of forces will be reduced by about half by the end of 2015, the administration says, and by the end of 2016 will eventually consist of a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as is the case in Iraq.

At the peak of the war, there were 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. Today, there are about 32,000. Mr. Obama noted in his remarks that when he took office, there were 180,000 trooped deployed abroad.

The future of U.S. troop presence has been uncertain for months as Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a security agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay after the combat mission is concluded at the end of this year.

The candidates running to replace Karzai have indicated they will sign an agreement, but the uncertainty has delayed the U.S. military’s ability to plan for the future.

“We believe that the long-term solution for Afghan security is not U.S. forces, it’s Afghan forces, and that we’ve trained and equipped an Afghan National Security Force that needs to be responsible for securing their country,” a senior administration official said ahead of the president’s announcement. “This has never been a situation where the United States was signing on to provide security in Afghanistan indefinitely.”

The president reiterated the necessity of signing the security agreement, but said he was hopeful it could be done.

The president has already spoken about the war several times this week, first during a surprise Memorial Day Weekend visit to Afghanistan on Sunday and his remarks at Arlington National Cemetery commemorating the holiday on Monday.

He will deliver the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Wednesday, where he is expected to expand on and defend his approach to the recent foreign policy crises the country has faced.

“The bottom line is its time to turn the page on more than a decade in which so much of our foreign policy was focused on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Mr. Obama said. “Americans have learned that it’s harder to end wars than it is to begin them. Yet this is how wars end in the 21st century – not through signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility.”

Still, he promised that the U.S. would “always keep pour commitments to friends and allies who step up” and will continue to support Afghans as they rebuild their country.

In response to the president’s announcement, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, welcomed the announcement that the U.S. would maintain a troop presence in Afghanistan after the end of the year but warned against separating the decision making from conditions on the ground.

“It has been my long-standing position that input from our commanders about the conditions on the ground should dictate troop decisions, and not an arbitrary number from Washington,” Boehner said. “I am pleased that today’s decision supports our military’s request for forces, but I look forward to hearing more specifics on how the proposed troop number will adequately cover the defined missions as well as provide appropriate force protection for our military and civilian personnel.”

Overall, however, Boehner has advocated for continuing U.S. involvement if it is necessary. In the statement, he said the biggest takeaway from his trip to Afghanistan last month is that, “the most potentially damaging and completely avoidable is quitting just short of the goal line.”

8 comments

    • TRW 3

      In Israel they are loving our President where he enjoys a eighty-three per cent approval rating. The Pew Research Center has been keeping up with Presidents and how they are faring. In every region of the globe except the Middle East (where the United States was wildly unpopular under George W. Bush and remains so), America’s approval rating is way up since Obama took office. In Spain, approval of the United States is 29 percentage points higher than when Bush left office. In Italy, it’s up 23 points. In Germany and France, it’s 22. The U.S. is 19 points more popular in Japan, 24 points more popular in Indonesia, and 28 points more popular in Malaysia. Likewise among the biggest powers in Latin America and Africa: Approval of the United States has risen 19 points in Argentina and 12 points in South Africa.

  • Sarah 1

    Can’t resist can you Tom?

    This was NOT Obama’s war lest we forget. He was inaugurated Jan. 2009 and had a mess to clean up in hundreds of areas. What have you done? It would be my desire to vacate but I do not have people on the inside giving me the ‘inside’ scoop.

    There never should have been an Iraqi and Afghan war. Another failed war to put money in the hands of bureaucrats and defense contractors. Haliburton scored bigtime at the expense of our soldiers.

    • Arnold Fudpucker

      Nothing is obummas fault right? Look at everything that is going on right now under his watch. At least he isn’t crying that it is Bush’s fault finally, he beat that drum way too long.

      Solyndra…remember that little throw away by obumma?

  • Fact Checker 101

    On 31 August 2011, Solyndra announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, laying off 1,100 employees, and shutting down all operations and manufacturing. In Solyndra’s quarterly employee meetings, employees were told that the company was losing money, and that production costs, while declining, were still higher than the also-declining market prices for solar panels. The decision to lay off employees and cease operations came about as the result of a board meeting on 30 August in which terms for the injection of additional capital could not be agreed upon. This left Solyndra with virtually no cash.

    On 8 September 2011, Solyndra was raided by the FBI investigating the company.

    In September 2011, federal agents visited the homes of Brian Harrison, the company’s CEO, and Chris Gronet, the company’s founder, to examine computer files and documents. Also, in September 2011, the US Department of the Treasury launched an investigation.

    On 29 September 2011, a US Department of the Treasury official. confirmed that the criminal probe of Solyndra is focused on whether the company and its officers misrepresented the firm’s finances to the government in seeking the loan or engaged in accounting fraud.

    On 7 October 2011, newly revealed emails showed that the Obama administration had concerns about the legality of the Department of Energy’s loan restructuring plan and warned OMB director Jeffrey D. Zients that the plan should be cleared with the Department of Justice first, which the Department of Energy had not done. The emails also revealed that as early as August 2009, an aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had asked a Department of Energy official if he could discuss any concerns among the investment community about Solyndra but that the official dismissed the idea that Solyndra had financial problems.

    On 13 October 2011, the bankruptcy court approved the hiring of the chief restructuring officer Todd Neilson.

    On 20 October 2011, Rocket Renewables (rocketrenewables.com) incorporated in Delaware with Gronet as the President and CEO.

    On 10 October 2012, the US Department of Justice objected to the bankruptcy plan amidst allegations that “the plan’s primary purpose is tax avoidance through the preservation of hundreds of millions of dollars of net operating losses after reorganization”. Also, the successor company is named 360 Degree Solar Holdings, Inc., which would have control over “approximately US $ 350 million in tax attributes”, such as NOL carryovers.

    On 22 October 2012, in the case In re Solyndra LLC et al., No. 11-12799 (Bankr. D. Del.), Judge Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware ruled “that the evidence does not support a finding that the principal purpose of the plan was tax avoidance.”Solyndra’s owners, Argonaut Ventures I LLC and Madrone Partners LP” will “realize the tax benefits of between $ 875 million and $ 975 million of net operating losses, while more senior creditors, including the Department of Energy, which provided a $ 535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, will receive nearly nothing.”

    On 12 July 2013, the Contra Costa Times reported that Gronet was unlikely to face criminal charges in connection with Solyndra.

    Research is easy if you really want details Arnold or whoever you are pretending to be today. And facts.

    Calling the President insulting names only makes you look inferior.

  • Arnold Fudpucker

    It is still me. What about Benghazi, IRS, VA, the wife’s high end taxpayer paid vacations…… Not understanding the argument only makes you look inferior.

  • Arnold Fudpucker

    Oh yeah, I forgot the debacle that is obamacare. Keep an eye on your health insurance if you can afford it. Or are you getting it fo free?

  • Fact Checker 101

    Let’s see, first you were including a link to Fox News that had nothing to do with this article and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. II answered that and used plenty of little words so you would understand. Then you completely drop your subject matter SOLYNDRA and change targets.

    Not firing well, are you?

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