Military Outlining Modest Afghan Withdrawal

But only a small one
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2011 6:51 AM CDT
US Marines Corporal Joshua Boston talks over his scanner in Helmand Province, on May 7, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – US military officers are drawing up plans for a modest troop reduction in Afghanistan that’s designed to meet President Obama’s July deadline without conceding the ground they’ve gained in the restive south. Preliminary plans call for the withdrawal of 5,000 troops in July, and another 5,000 by December—a relatively small chunk of the current 100,000-troop force, officials tell the Wall Street Journal.

The proposals were drawn up before the death of Osama bin Laden, and could still be revised if that appears to be affecting the conflict—there’s hope it will make the Taliban more willing to negotiate. The plan also hasn’t been presented to the White House, which is sure to vigorously debate any move. “The president has made no decision about the scope or pace of the drawdown that will begin in July,” a National Security Council spokesman said. “Any speculation is therefore completely premature.”

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