WH: Pace of US forces exit from Afghanistan undecided
“The President's policy will result in the bringing home of 33,000 troops by the end of this summer. Then, as per the decision made by NATO at Lisbon, the full transition to Afghan security lead will take place by the end of 2014,” White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters at his daily news conference.
“The President has made clear that American troops will continue to be drawn down after those 33,000 are withdrawn, but the pace of that drawdown will depend on assessments made by commanders, by the President, by our NATO allies. There is not a discussion about specific numbers or specific options at this time. It's simply not accurate,” he said.
“Contrary to reports that appeared today, there are no options being reviewed with specific troop numbers attached to them. There are no individuals promoting specific options over others. That's just simply false,” Carney said in response to a question.
The White House Press Secretary said the US has made it clear for some time now that the pace of the withdrawal of the remaining 68,000 after the surge forces are withdrawn will be decided in consultation with NATO ministers and will have everything to do with the successful implementation of the strategy. “And that remains the case,” Carney said.
“The (US) President is committed to drawing down forces, removing American troops from Afghanistan as we transfer security authority to the Afghan forces, and doing that in a way that allows us to achieve our objectives. That has not changed,” he said.
“The President's policy is to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan as we transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces. That's the strategy he put into place and that's the strategy he has been implementing,” Carney said.
The US, he said, is in the middle of the drawdown of the surge forces and by the end of this summer, 33,000 troops will be home. “He has said that we will continue to remove US forces through -- even beyond the drawdown of the surge forces. The pace of that withdrawal has not been decided,” he said.
“I think it's important to understand that in spite of recent events, the strategy is a broad-based strategy that looks at the achievement of our objectives and the fact that this president is committed to ending the war in Afghanistan responsibly, in a way that ensures that we have successfully taken the fight to Al Qaida, which is the number one primary objective of the strategy, and that we have stabilized Afghanistan so that Afghan security forces can be responsible for the security of their nation and that we can ensure that Afghanistan will not be host to Al Qaida in the future,” Carney said.
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