Announcement of timetable for US troop withdrawal
In a televised address to the US public, US President Barack Obama on June 22 announced that 10,000 US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year (with 5,000 of these leaving in July) and that the other 23,000 of the 2009 “troop surge” would leave by September 2012. There would then be a drawdown of the remaining 70,000 US troops at “a steady pace” until all were withdrawn by 2014. Citing successes in both the struggle against the Talibaan insurgents and against the al-Qaida terrorist organisation, Obama stated that the “tide of war is receding”. The announced withdrawal also honoured the promises that Obama had made at the time of the troop surge and was seen as connected to his campaign for re-election in 2012. Significantly the president said that the
US goal in Afghanistan was not to “try to make Afghanistan a perfect place” but rather to ensure that it was “no safe haven” from which terrorists could attack the USA or its allies. Whilst specifically ruling out long-term responsibility for Afghanistan’s security, Obama committed himself to an enduring “partnership with the Afghan people”.