Obama Announces Withdrawal

10,000 soldiers are to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2011, and 20,000 by next summer  – leaving the US military footprint in the region to pre- ‘surge’ levels. Full responsibility is expected to be transferred to Afghan forces by 2014. The withdrawal represents a victory for Vice President Biden, who had pushed for a smaller, more clandestine counterrorism force, and a defeat for Gen. Patreaus, who wanted to maintain a large presence.

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