Obama: 34,000 troops to return from Afghanistan

11:44 AM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
President Barack Obama before a joint session of Congress (USA Today)
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WASHINGTON (USA Today) -- President Obama plans to announce Tuesday that 34,000 more U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan at this time next year, said people familiar with his State of the Union speech.

That would reduce the American military presence in Afghanistan by about half, and maintain the schedule to end combat operations within two years.

Obama will also say that reductions will continue through the end of 2014 as Afghans take responsibility for their own security.

Officials familiar with the plan spoke on condition of anonymity, deferring to Obama's speech tonight. .

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The president does not plan to provide numbers for any kind of residual force after 2014, a topic that remains subject to negotiations with Afghanistan.

Obama has often said he plans to bring the Afghanistan war to a close by the end of 2014.

The 34,000 withdrawal is the latest phase in a transition plan that the U.S., Afghanistan, and allies developed at recent NATO summits in Lisbon and Chicago.

(USA Today)

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