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President Obama Announces Plans For Afghanistan, Including Summit In May
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President Obama Announces Plans for Afghanistan, Including Summit In May

President Obama took to the airwaves for a speech on Wednesday evening detailing the plan for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. This was after Obama had sent an additional 30,000 troops to help with training and protection soon after taking office. The first of the troops, according to his speech, will start pulling out in July with a proposed 10,000 troops home by the end of this year. The goal is to have a total of 33,000 troops home by summer of 2012. The troops will start coming home in a steady and predictable pattern with complete pull out finished by 2014. At that time, Afghan security and control will be totally in the hands of the Afghan people, allowing them to be in total control over their own security forces.

The President also pointed out that al Qaeda, while still a threat, is no longer the serious threat that it once was, as evidenced by some of the documents seized in the raid on the Pakistan compound of Osama Bin Laden that left the terrorist leader dead. Al Qaeda is under serious strain with no real, credible replacements being found for senior terrorists that have been killed during operations.

The Afghan security force is now increased by 100,000 and training is continuing so that they are ready for the take over. In addition, the security forces are being trained for police jobs and other positions. The President praised Afghanistan for progressing forward, including new opportunities for girls and women in the nation.

The speech also mentioned putting pressure on Pakistan to take a more proactive role in security and to join in with their neighbors in quelling threats such as the Taliban and al Qaeda from ever becoming as active as they had been in the past.

In addition to this information, President Obama also announced the NATO Summit which is expected to be held in Chicago in May of 2012.. Some of the topics of conversation for the world leaders who are attending have been set while others will have to be developed as the time grows near.

The reaction to the President’s speech was not as decisive as had been predicted with Republicans split. Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota and a presidential candidate called the speech “defeatist” in nature and tone and said that Obama should be following the suggestions of the chief of operations in Afghanistan. He went on to say that until the Afghan security forces are ready to take over, the troops should stay.

Other Republicans agreed with the speech and said that Americans were tired of the continued troop involvement. Opinions about the NATO summit in Chicago are also divided with a number of Americans, especially those in the city, taking to their Twitter accounts to question how the security for such an event would be handled and who was going to foot the bill for it.


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