Obama deciding on size of initial Afghanistan troop withdrawal
U.S. troops walk through Camp Hansen, in Marjah, Afghanistan.
June 6th, 2011
04:15 PM ET

Obama deciding on size of initial Afghanistan troop withdrawal

President Obama has yet to make a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan going forward, but a big meeting with Hamid Karzai on Wednesday is likely to lead him closer to one. From the CNN Wire Staff:

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will hold a video conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday, but has yet to reach a decision on the size and scope of the U.S. troop withdrawal that will begin next month, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

Carney told reporters that the troop withdrawal will begin in July, as planned. What remains undecided are the number and kinds of U.S. force members coming home, he said.

Meanwhile, the president met with several members of his national security team earlier Monday, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates, on his final visit to Afghanistan before stepping down at the end of June, said over the weekend that he believes as many combat forces as possible should remain in Afghanistan for as long as possible.

More details about Obama's meeting, as provided by the White House:

The President led his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his national security team this morning. During this session, the President received briefings on progress in implementing our strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan following the death of Osama bin Laden.

By video, Secretary Gates briefed the President on his recent trip to Afghanistan. The group also discussed our strategic partnership with Afghanistan and the progress being made to build and sustain the Afghan National Security Forces, and the President’s upcoming videoconference with President Karzai on Wednesday, June 8.

The President also received an update on our efforts to ensure effective cooperation with Pakistan against al Qaeda and other violent extremists.

The following senior officials attended the meeting:

The Vice President

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense (via videoconference)

William Daley, Chief of Staff

Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor

Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources

Neal Wolin, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury

Michele Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Leon Panetta, Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Michael Morell, Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Robert Cardillo, Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration

Rajiv Shah, Administrator, Agency for International Development

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan (via videoconference)

Ambassador Cameron Munter, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan (via videoconference)

Ambassador Marc Grossman, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (via videoconference)

General James Mattis, Commander, CENTCOM (via videoconference)

General David Petraeus, Commander of ISAF (via videoconference)

VADM Michael LeFever, Commander, Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan (via videoconference),

Doug Lute, Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Nicholas Rasmussen, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism

Antony Blinken, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President

Topics: Afghanistan • President Obama • The News

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Notfooled

    President Obama our troops are tired, their families are tired, our country is tired, our wounded are broken, it's time for them to come home.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  2. Liz Carter in Georgia

    I agree with you, Notfooled! However, I think that even historically, wherever the US has put her BIG militaristic foot, she's always set up shop and left some soldiers, marines, civil service workers and an embassy there. Oh, I know we need to get out totally, but we always leave a show of force, or at the very least, a show of FACE! We've become such a lying, paranoid and untrustworthy nation, that we're forced now to really HAVE to watch our back! I think some of us will have to stay! What do you think?

    June 15, 2011 at 9:46 am |
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