Tonight, President Barack Obama will give a major speech regarding the Afghanistan war campaign. He is expected to announce the withdrawal of up to 30,000 United States troops from Afghanistan by November of next year.
“The move comes despite warnings from his military commanders that recent security gains are fragile. They have been urging him to keep troop numbers high until 2013,” read a Guardian article. The White House confirmed, according to the article, that the troop withdrawals will be “significant.”
“(NATO) commanders led by General David Petraeus have set out the risks of withdrawing too many troops too soon,” the article reported. “They had urged him to keep in place the bulk of the extra 30,000 troops he committed to the ‘surge’ until the end of 2012, so a drawdown can begin in 2013. That would give the military another full ‘fighting season’ to attack Taliban strongholds and target insurgent leaders.”
At a press conference on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the President’s upcoming speech, but would not give any details about the actual number of troops being withdrawn.
“The parameters of the decision involve the beginning of the drawdown of U.S. forces. As you know, we ramped up in a surge the number of forces in Afghanistan. And we are at that peak point,” Carney said.
“And the President identified in December of 2009 — made the commitment that forces would begin to draw down in July of 2011. He is keeping that commitment. And that’s what he will announce tomorrow evening.”
When asked whether the President’s decision was based on the cost of the war, rather than the military appropriateness of a withdrawal, Carney said the President was “extremely knowledgeable” about the war in Afghanistan, and “we are always mindful of the fact that, as powerful and wealthy as this country is, we do not have infinite and unlimited resources, and we have to make decisions about what — how to spend our precious dollars and, more importantly, how and when to use military force and put our — put Americans in harm’s way.”
UPDATE: As of 2:48 pm EDT, The Washington Post reported: “President Obama will announce in his prime-time address Wednesday that he will order home 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year and another 23,000 by the end of September 2012, according to administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity.”