Obama had pledged to reduce U.S. troop deployment in Afghanistan to 5,500 troops by the end of this year but instead he is withdrawing about 1,400.
|This will leave 8,400 troops in Afghanistan until the end of his presidency, 2,900 more than he promised. Obama defended his decision saying:|
“I strongly believe that it is in our national security interest, especially after all the blood and treasure we've invested in Afghanistan over the years, that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed. The decision I'm making today ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves.”Obama said his national security advisers had recommended that he move away from his earlier pledge to reduce numbers to 5,500. Officials said the decision was based for the most part on assessments made by General John Nicholson Jr. who commands NATO forces in Afghanistan.
“The precision of the president’s new Afghanistan troop cap would be comical were its consequences not so tragic for our mission and military readiness. It is time that the president level with the American people about what it will really take to achieve our goals in Afghanistan, and how much it will cost. The truth is that many thousands more Americans are performing military functions in Afghanistan than even the current troop cap authorizes."In spite of the fact that the combat role of the US in Afghanistan is over, 38 Americans including troops, contractors, and workers lost their lives last year.