Obama’s Withdrawal Plan
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.