Obama Outlines Plan to Pull Out 'Surge' Troops from Afghanistan

World | June 23, 2011, Thursday // 08:31|  views

US President Obama announced plans Wednesday night to remove 33,000 'surge' troops from Afghanistan. Photo by WP

US President Barack Obama has announced a plan to withdraw 33 000 troops from Afghanistan within a year.

In a televised address from the White House Wednesday night ET, Obama announced that 10 000 US troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2011, and 23 000 more by next summer, essentially a pullout of the 33 000 "surge" forces sent by him in 2009 to try to overwhelm the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan where the US forces are doing the bulk of the fighting, and most of the NATO-led ISAF forces act as peace-keepers.

Back in 2009, when the US surge troops were sent, Obama also set July 2011 for a start to bringing them home.

According to Obama's departure plan, the first US troops are starting to leave in July 2011. His move has been interpreted primarily as a measure directed at US domestic politics as he will stand for reelection in 2012.

"Over the last decade, we have spent USD 1 T on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home," Obama stated in his 13-minute televised address.

It is still unclear if the US President's withdrawal plan will lead other countries to speed up pullouts or downsizing of their forces in Afghanistan, where US allies provided about 30% of the troops, or about 40 000.

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Tags: Barack Obama, US President, Afghanistan, Taliban, ISAF, NATO, pullout


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