On December 1, 2009 the President gave a speech at West Point that announced a troop withdrawal timetable for Afghanistan:
And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan…
The 30,000 additional troops that I'm announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 -- the fastest possible pace -- so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They'll increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.
Because this is an international effort, I've asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we're confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. And now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what's at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility -- what's at stake is the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.
But taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.
Valentine’s Day, 2011:
The fighting season begins about three months from now and the President submitted his annual budget request to Congress today. It reflects the DoD’s anticipations, among many other things.
We have 102 thousand troops in Afghanistan right now. According to the proposed DoD budget, we will have more than 98 thousand there a year from now.
June 23rd: In a 15 minute prime time address to the nation, the president said he will reduce troop levels by 10 thousand this year and will withdraw the balance of the 33 thousand surge troops by the end of next summer, two months before the next presidential election day.
August 19th: The Afghan government is about to sign a strategic pact that keeps trainers, Special Forces and air power an additional decade -- until 2024..."at least".
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