February 18, 2011
The US surge in Afghanistan is likely to stay in place long beyond President Barack Obama’s initial plan to pull troops out in large numbers this year.
Some US officials anticipate the drawdown scheduled for this year will be relatively modest – even though Mr Obama had initially intended to “push the curve to the left” in the 30,000-strong surge, accelerating both its deployment and withdrawal.
One factor is the presence of General David Petraeus, the US and Nato commander in the field and a uniquely authoritative figure because of his commanding role in Iraq, who has made clear his opposition to a precipitous withdrawal. He made no mention of the July date in a recent letter to troops on the challenges ahead.
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