Obama to Decide on Afghanistan Troop Drawdown

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 7:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The White House says U.S. President Barack Obama will soon decide on the scope and pace of the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan set to begin in July.

Mr. Obama met with his national security team Monday to discuss situation in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. The meeting was the first since U.S. special forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on May 2 in northern Pakistan.

Among the meeting's 26 participants was outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who reported via video link on his just-completed farewell tour in Afghanistan, where he visited U.S. troops in several Afghan provinces.

After the meeting, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president will make a decision on the drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan relatively soon, after receiving a recommendation from military advisers. Carney said once that decision is made, Mr. Obama will report it to the American people.

Mr. Obama sent 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan in December 2009 and vowed to begin a pullout by mid-2011. There are around 90,000 American troops in Afghanistan, forming the bulk of the International Security Assistance Force.

The president is scheduled to hold a video conference with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Wednesday.

In violence Monday, Afghan officials say unknown gunmen killed 11 people, including at least one Afghan soldier, in central Logar province.

In southwestern Nimroz province, insurgents attacked an Afghan checkpoint, killing two police officers and abducting five others.

And NATO said two of its service members were killed in southern Afghanistan — one in a roadside bombing, the other in an insurgent attack.