Obama To Announce Major Afghan Troop Withdrawal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 12 2013 11:20 AM

Obama To Announce Major Afghan Troop Withdrawal

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President Obama is expected to announce a major troop drawdown in Afghanistan during tonight's State of the Union

Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is widely expected to spend much of tonight's State of the Union talking about jobs and the economy, but he'll also likely find time to talk about a whole host of topics, both at home and abroad. The Associated Press scoops one of those major talking points: The withdrawal of 34,000 American troops from Afghanistan over the next year.

The highly-anticipated announcement on the next phase of the troop withdrawal will cut the size of the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan in half by next February. The drawdown puts the U.S. on pace to formally finish the protracted war by the end of 2014.
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Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the Pentagon is pushing a plan that would keep about 8,000 U.S. troops in the country once the NATO military mission officially ends at the end of next year. That number would then shrink significantly over the following two years. The plan, the paper explains, "represents an effort to strike a compromise" between top military commanders, who were hoping for a 10,000-strong force after 2014, and Obama's senior civilian advisers, who were pushing for a much smaller long-term presence.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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