Obama’s With­drawal Plan

Southasia - - Briefing -

Dur­ing his re­cent State of the Union speech, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama an­nounced the with­drawal of 34,000 US troops from Afghanistan over the next year. This places the US on the right track for a speedy with­drawal by the end of 2014. Pres­i­dent Obama needs to ad­dress many chal­lenges in his sec­ond term in of­fice; how­ever, deal­ing with a smooth tran­si­tion in Afghanistan will be of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance. Dur­ing the speech, Obama spent less time on for­eign pol­icy and in­ter­nal is­sues and fo­cused more on Afghanistan.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s an­nounce­ment comes a month af­ter his meet­ing with Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai where the two lead­ers agreed to han­dover com­bat op­er­a­tion to Afghanistan’s na­tional forces. In ad­di­tion, US mil­i­tary of- fi­cials have ex­pressed con­fi­dence in Afghanistan’s na­tional forces and their abil­ity to take con­trol of the coun­try. Where the US al­lies ap­plaud Pres­i­dent Obama’s de­ci­sion, the Tal­iban re­fused to ac­cept it. The ex­trem­ist fac­tion re­it­er­ated that the war would end only when all for­eign troops had left Afghanistan. The Tal­iban fur­ther said that chang­ing the num­ber of troops does not solve the prob­lem. The with­drawal of 34,000 troops is it­self a daunt­ing chal­lenge for the US. Even if troops leave the war-torn coun­try, the US would need some backup sup­port in Afghanistan to keep the ex­trem­ist fac­tions at bay.

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