Details regarding the pullout of troops from Afghanistan, set to begin in July, have been left to the discretion of President Obama’s commanders, according to an announcement over the weekend. These details will include the number of troops that will be sent home first, we well as whether these troops will include combat forces.
The Navy Times shared that the leeway provided by the President was revealed by administration and military officials on Sunday. For Army Gen. David Petraeus, top commander for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, that leeway is important, as it will allow him to determine the pace at which the withdrawal will be executed. It will provide him with enough decision-making authority to withdraw troops in a manner that will keep combat power until the end of the traditional fighting season, in October or November.
As of Thursday, June 23, no details have been provided by Gen. Petraeus, or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, regarding the pull-out of troops set to commence in July.
Gen. Petraeus is scheduled to vacate his post this summer, but Mullen has indicated that his successor, Marine Lt. Gen. John R. Allen, “will be given the flexibility — inside these deadlines — to determine the pace of this withdrawal and the rearrangement of remaining forces inside the country.”
This month, Gen. Petraeus has decided to send two battalions of an Oklahoma Army National Guard infantry brigade to Kuwait. These troops were supposed to deploy to Afghanistan in July, to assume security duties; what this change in deployment means is that once the soldiers that the two battalions should have replaced in Afghanistan in July goes home, there will be a reduction in U.S. forces in Afghanistan by that number.